‘My Biggest Regret’ & ‘Redolent’ by Ethan Parke Smith

soft cartel may 2018

My Biggest Regret

At some point I realized
that no one was talking anymore;

Dad didn’t, cause he was mad at Marc;
Marc didn’t, cause

his mind was glazed over;
Mom didn’t, cause she didn’t know

what was going on; I didn’t, because
I didn’t want to tell anyone else

that my younger brother was gone
and all I did was watch him burn out.

I realized all of this, I guess,
sometime between my seeing

those reddish purple slits on his arms
appear, line after line, all lined up;

Sometime between breaths,
as he exhaled a sad sigh –

he reeked of Black and Mild,
which he said he needed in order to sleep.

But he never did sleep –
his eyes were constantly red,

and I feared they’d burst soon
and fall like the tears he kept in.

For the longest time, I just sat
and watched him wisp away,

my own flesh and blood,
clouded with smoke and drink,

because to him, it felt good,
but I knew he was dying inside

because as the edge dulled,
as the buzz ebbed, I’d ask

if he was okay. He’d just grin,
making a gun with his fingers –

“I want to die,” he’d say, then
would throw his head back

laughing. I would just stand there,
saying goodbye to the little boy

I neglected so many years back –
I’m so sorry, Marcus.


Maybe things could be worse,
but as of now,
I feel like a left wet sock,
which is worse
than having both feet wet.
Because having one dry
constantly reminds me
things could be better.
I can’t get used to it,
though I try shaking my leg,
or wiping my foot against the rug.
The water reaches deep –
the disappointment soaks all layers,
drenching my ego and patience.
And what difference does it make if I take you off?
If I throw you away
I’m still damp with your scorn.
My foot’s getting all cold, turning purple,
and now I’m afraid to go near any puddle.

Ethan Parke Smith is a writer of dark poetry with his poem “Psychopathic Plaything” forthcoming by Sirens Call Publications. He currently resides in central Pennsylvania with his family.