by Maggie Smith

From seat 8A, clouds mountainous,
I’m considering flat-earthers:

If they believe the world
is an unscrolled map

or an atlas opened wide, spine
cracked, what do they think

happens to the sky when
we reach its edge? Is it a blue

wall we could bump our noses on?
A wall this plane could crumple

its nose on? How could I
sit here in coach, calmly

watching the clouds, if I believed
the sky stopped, that at some point

the pilot would have to
make a U-turn, like a bicyclist

in a cul-de-sac? Do flat-earthers believe
we can fly past the map’s edge

into a blank expanse,
nothing below us? Or will we stop

at the world’s end & watch
the sky go on without us?


Photograph by mirasha.

About the Author:

Maggie Smith is the author of, most recently, Good Bones (Tupelo Press, 2017) and The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (2015). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the New York Times, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Adroit Journal, The Believer, AGNI, The Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. In 2016 her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International.