Poems by Lou Smith

February 2011


Today the rain came
but it was “fake rain”
not enough water to drench this
dry island.
“The world is off its axis,
since the earthquake in Haiti,
and only Mother Nature can fix it,”
the taxi driver said.
Bleached-bone clouds
sock the mountains
but they won’t bring rain
just mist as thick as smoke
obscuring the view of Kingston.
We hope real rain soon comes
rain that fills drains
and slicks cotton to skin.
Not flooding rain or hurricane
but real rain
real rain


Long Mountain House (College Common)

Facing towards the spill of houses
of Newcastle
and the mansions of Jacks Hill
on the edge
of the Blue Mountains
in shades of red
the afternoon breeze
has come rattling the heavy canopy
hanging over the external staircase
easing the humidity.
I’m told my grandma
was born near here
and I feel closer to her now
but not totally
my self still in
Louisiana, New York,

some things are familiar,
as Juliette said they would be—
names like Newcastle and the Blue Mountains,
the fuchsia bougainvillea Mum loves so much
spilling wildly over fences,
weatherboard houses, and grassy, guttered footpaths—
but nothing else is the same

there is blood on my hands
cut by the metal latch
of the ATM security door
and the cuts circling
my ankle
from tripping over a thorny branch
on the overgrown footpath
my blood
to the ground


Lou Smith is an Australian poet whose work has been published in various Australian and international journals, including Wasafiri, Mascara Literary Review, Overland, and Kunapipi. She is currently completing a PhD in creative writing at the University of Melbourne, exploring family genealogy and migration (she is of Jamaican, Welsh, and English heritage) and examining place and photographs as repositories of cultural memory.