Look Beyond a Dead Sea
Jace Raymond Smellie
Doubt is like a rip in my esophagus.
The sulfur works its way in as we tear
down the interstate toward a promised land.
Tension lies weightless between
a fuzzy radio and empty cup holders.
Its flow is mutual and unrestrained.
As buzzing traffic flies, I want to break
down on the side of the road
or crash and split into shards
so sharp and miniscule
you’d never notice me again if
you didn’t want to. Someday
maybe, but now you’re driving—
eyes bent down on the road.
Debilitated, I look west toward salt
and a dead sea. I see mountains,
and I see haze.
We’ll rebuild. We always do.
You cruise in the fast lane. Typical.
I find someone walking in the salt,
a little boy with dark skin.
His thick hair blows in the wind.
Red shirt and blue shorts.
He points out at the sea.
He glances back to me,
his finger toward the horizon,
beyond what I can see.
You keep driving.
I can’t see him anymore.
I notice my door is unlocked.
I stare at your face.
I rest my fingers on the handle.
I find leather seats uncomfortable
and uninviting. They feel cold
and stuck up.
I think of pillows made by kids
in Indonesia and Vietnam
resting on leather couches.
I think of bare kitchen counters
made of the finest granite or marble
where no one eats.
I think of carpet halls where
candles try to cover the odor
of a burnt vacuum belt.
I think of the home you want.
Jace Raymond Smellie is in the final semester of his BA in Creative Writing at Utah State University. He grew up in the sagebrush hills of southeastern Idaho, but he considers anywhere from Idaho to Arizona as his home. In his rare spare time away from school, work, and his writing desk, he plays in competitive disc golf tournaments. Jace’s literary work is forthcoming in 30 N, Sucarnochee Review, and local publications.