Maggie Smith

July 24, 2017 Smith Maggie


Why is the sky so tall and over everything?


What you draw as a blue stripe high above
a green stripe, white-interrupted, the real sky
starts at the tip of each blade of grass and goes
up, up, as far as you can see. Our house stops
at the roof, at the glitter-black overlap of shingles
where the sky presses down, bearing the weight
of space, dark and sparkling, on its back.
Think of sky not as blue, not as over,
but as the invisible surround, a soft suit
you wear close to the skin. When you walk,
the soles of your feet take turns on the ground,
but the rest of you is in the sky, enveloped in sky.
As you move through it, you make a tunnel
in the precise size and shape of your body.

Maggie Smith is the author of Good Bones (Tupelo Press, October 2017); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press 2015), winner of the Dorset Prize and the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal in Poetry; Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award; and three chapbooks, most recently Disasterology (Dream Horse Press 2016). Smith has received fellowships from the NEA, the Ohio Arts Council, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and elsewhere. She is a freelance writer and editor, and serves as a Contributing Editor to the Kenyon Review.