Issue #3 // Never Bled The Same // Ethan Smith

My hometown is on fire,
353,000 acres burned.
The first news I’ve read
from her since three years ago says
do you remember your father’s house?
The garden in the back
all bell pepper, tomato, and roses.

She is asking
if I remember my middle name, Rose.
I remind her that only ever belonged to my grandmother
who stopped sending fire trucks for me
after I gave it back.

My name
now colorless.
found in a suggestion box.
I wonder if that’s why
I’ve never bled the same
since woman left my body.
Why my love has never bled the same
since the fruit of birth left my body.

Why my name has never come
the same smooth from her tongue
since I stopped lighting a fire in her.

When I left, she told me I was empty,
so I bought her and I rings
with our birthstones in them.
Mine no longer fits over my pink knuckles
so it hangs a square-cut ruby on a nail
above my bed.

The other stone, hers,
it fell out.

Ethan Walker Smith is a performance poet and LGBT advocate, currently performing at venues around the country and working at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston, MA. Find Ethan at


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