On another night
in a hotel
in a room
in a city
flanked by all
that is unfamiliar
I am able to move
my finger along
a glass screen
once across
once vertical
& in seconds
see your mother
smiling in a room
that is our own
that is now so
far away but
also not so far
away at all
& she can place
the small screen
near her belly
& when I speak
I can see you
moving beneath
her skin as if you
knew that this
distance was
only temporary
& what a small
yet profound
joy it is to be some-
where that is not
with you but to
still be with you
& see your feet
dance beneath
her rib cage like
you knew we’d
both be dancing
together soon.


Copyright © 2017 by Clint Smith. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 11, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“When my partner was pregnant with our son I would sometimes be away from home on tour for my first book. Evening FaceTime sessions once I got back to the hotel room were the highlights of each day, and made being away from home a bit more bearable. Much is made about the ways technology can compromise or fracture human relationships, but I think often of the remarkable opportunities that technology has afforded us to be closer to those we love in ways we could never have previously imagined.”
—Clint Smith