Now I am My Father,


by Maggie Smith

shadowing my children
through the house,

flipping the switch
when they leave a room.

Who needs
spendy, top-shelf light

when the sun costs us
nothing? No one

meters it streaming in.
The dog lies in a square

free of charge.
I am my father now—

conserving, conservative
regarding the light

I pay for. That’s me,
shadowing, leaving

behind me a dark wake.
That’s me, & the shadow

around me is free.


Cover image by Iamdogjunkie.

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.