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Our Gentle Alchemy

The world is a rough place.

By J. Otis HaasPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 1 min read
Runner-Up in the Smooth Challenge
Our Gentle Alchemy
Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

“Your mother raised a gentle flower,” she said.

I know this much is true.

I am a fragile thing.

The world is a rough place,

And the slightest breeze bends my stem to the ground.


Existence is a belt-sander.

I disappear as I proceed,

The treadmill eating me from the feet up,

Until I am but a raw nerve, massless as a photon.

Tumbling along, out of control.


The regularly scheduled programming

Of TV static across my frontal lobe

Resolves into dreams,

But the ending is always a cliffhanger,

And there’s never a next episode.


The world is a rough place.

I can be smooth long enough to get what I need, but

I am quicksand,

Sinking into myself,

Past all the skeletons of the past.


I turn over stones in the desert, searching for sustenance, but uncovering only scorpions.

Steinbeck taught me to put Vaseline in my gloves,

And my long-idle, smooth hands are well suited for the task.

I am what I eat.


You are quicksilver smooth, the most effortlessly charming entity I have ever encountered.

I trace the trade-routes of your nervous system down your spine,

In awe of the circuitry that manifests the workings of your magnificent philosopher’s mind

Into inscrutable, dazzling action.

I long to be like you.


Blessedly, you allow it.

The world is a rough place, but smooths, guided by your patience in the presence of our gentle alchemy.

We stretch each moment into eons,

Our laughter a windbreak in the sandstorm.

I am truly nourished.


I wake far from the desert,

Alone in the vast, inky blackness of interstellar space.

My craft a teardrop of smooth mercury,

Racing, faster-than-light, across impossible distances,

But I am not afraid.

love poems

About the Creator

J. Otis Haas

Space Case

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Comments (8)

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  • Alison McBain4 months ago

    I liked the contrast between smooth and rough – really brought the piece to life. Your reference to the belt sander was spot on.

  • Hannah Moore4 months ago


  • Cathy holmes4 months ago

    This is simply gorgeous. Congrats.

  • D.K. Shepard4 months ago

    Congrats! Loved the opening dialogue!

  • Lynn Jordan5 months ago

    Loved this!

  • Gerard DiLeo5 months ago

    Very nice imagery. Thank you.

  • Andrea Corwin 5 months ago

    Ahh, very smooth indeed! Super nice!!

  • Salman siddique5 months ago

    short but loved reading it

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