Poems by Lou Smith

Image courtesy of Konrad Krajewski. Shared via a Creative Commons license.



Swarms of yellow
in the morning
when the light still
streaks white;
they dot the trees
and are all I can see in
the spaces.
A butterfly
is an exhalation of breath
carrying the name of the deceased,
their soul inhabiting this place
for a period so brief.
But what is time
in a swarm of yellow butterflies?
Names are inscribed
in the tissue of wings—
my ancestors’
souls released
from their chrysalis,
an abundant mass
the colour of little suns.




My diary entries end at:
tanks entered Denham Town.”
On Monday the 6pm curfew had been called;
the next day
I walked along the grassy footpath
of the University of the West Indies campus
the heat cocooning me,
causing mirages of people walking
in the distance.

The campus was empty,
only security gathered in groups
where the roads met
or cruised past in cars.

Clouds hovered
amidst the peaks
of the Blue Mountains
always promising rain,
but no rain came.

At the library
whispered conversations
“but they are innocent people,”
“then they should leave.”

The ground swallowed me then
the air like a wet towel smothering me
as I walked the long walk home
to the sound of nothing.



Lou Smith is an Australian poet of Jamaican heritage. Her poetry has appeared in various Australian and international journals and anthologies including Wasafiri, The Caribbean Writer, EnterText and Small Axe Literary Salon. Lou holds a PhD in creative writing from The University of Melbourne, Australia.