Old Smile at the Roast

Test for the Old Smile, they’re going to roast it—
it’ll have to keep its ends up all night,
for the secretary says she finds it creepy,
and the golfing partner says you got that right,

and the rival says it’s fake, and the ambitious
junior makes his point with a few slides,
and the protege the Smile was always sweet to
walks up and says it turns his insides.

They harp on it, the bosses and the buddies,
and things get even better by these lights,
which is to say it’s shredded like a secret,
which is to say it’s one of the great nights;

and folks are saying so while they’re still roasting:
they cry out to the Smile and it smiles back,
like something huge is burdening a hammock,
or is until you hear a frightful crack.—

And then you better run like you saw nothing.
And then you better run like you weren’t there.
There is a line, it’s long and isn’t smiling.
You won’t believe me when I tell you where.

More Poems by Glyn Maxwell