Poetry Summer 2020

a smoot away

by Anastasia Sotiropoulos

legend has it that he was a stout boy
that oliver r. smoot of lambda chi
stretching all 5 foot 7 inches
of his oliver arms, oliver legs, oliver body
above the enticing midnight water
across the cold harvard bridge
pridefully picked up by his brothers
positioned where his head left off
and his toes began
ticking off the bridge as a measurement stick
each line streaky and chalky
and a smoot.

google maps has it that i’m 1,384,776 smoots
from dorm to home
oliver would only have to lie down a couple
hundred times
hundred thousand times
across neighborhood taco joints
sprinting through know-every-cement-crack back-alleys
by please-let-me-stay-the-night friends’ houses
over no harvard bridge or water
but landlocked panhandle and manmade lake
he’d have to lie under, on, over
that lake where the radio waves of “suburbia”
and “idle town”
and some senior year cry still echo
slowly rippling
as we blink out of red eyes
and sore minds.

rumor has it that it’s only 1,384,776 smoots
of spilled slushies, rushed drive-thrus
last-minute turn signals mowing over highway lines
that oliver would have to endure
interstate miles that all 5 foot 7 inches
of my arms, my legs, my body
the same height as oliver
would have to retrace
tick-mark up, recompute
calculate kundera’s mathematical paradox in nostalgia:
“that it is the most powerful
in early youth when the volume
of the life gone by
is quite small.”

how, i wonder,
can the distance between dorm and home
stretch farther than a million olivers
but also be one short me
one smoot.

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