New Friends

S. M. Stubbs

We smell grilled meat
before we spot the joyous throng.
All of them wear shades
of grey. The women have
done their hair with lengths
of ribbon. We paddle in,
pull our canoe onto the bank.
They hand us gourds filled
with moonshine. The scent
from the fire makes our mouths
water. We join the dance
until our feet go numb.
When the world blurs
we lay by the river, watch
three girls gather grasses.
They tell us they will twist them
into strands, the strands
into rope and the rope they’ll test
to find out exactly
how much they can hang.




SM Stubbs helps run a bar in Brooklyn. He is the recipient of a scholarship to Bread Loaf Writers Conference and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets. Winner of the 2019 Rose Warner Poetry Prize from The Freshwater Review, he was also the runner-up in both the Atticus Review Poetry Contest 2019 and the Cagibi 2019 Macaron Prize. His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, The Normal School, Puerto del Sol, The Pinch, Cherry Tree, Carolina Quarterly, The Bookends Review, among others, with work forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review and New Ohio Review.