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Writer of the Month: Bud Smith

Rachel In Her Swimsuit

on my way to prison
in a gray bus with
stenciled on it
my hands shackled together
and fixed to a bolt in the floor
I'm facing a sentence, 75 to life
just up the muddy road
I think in the dream, I've killed
some other dreamer
there's never a feeling like
“I've been framed” or anything
all I have is guilt for my crime
the guard on the other side
of the metal gate
sits with shotgun on his lap
dozing off, and the other inmates
are wide eyed with dull sorrow
but I always feel like I am
the only one dreaming
we bounce down the muddy road
and the driver gleefully says
“Half way there, fuckers!”
the shotgun guard snores
a man behind me begins to weep
and I set my head against
the sweaty window and almost cry too
but then, outside the window
I see my wife, Rachel, in her swimsuit
and I feel fine, she's waving to me
from the edge of the blue spruce pines
she puts a blowgun to her lips
firing a series of darts
that pop each of the tires of the bus
we skid to a hard stop
and the driver and the guard
get out to look
more darts get them in the neck
they collapse in the mud
and everyone on the bus cheers
as Rachel takes the guard’s keys
and comes back on the bus
to free, as only she can, only me. 

Bud Smith works heavy construction in NJ. Lives on 173rd street in NYC. Books are the novels Tollbooth and F-250, poetry collection is called Everything Neon.