by Maggie Smith

Meaning staying in one place.
Meaning staying in one’s place.
How constant almost rhymes
with constraint. How with fewer
variables, I become one.
Driving around my hometown
is a game of     that used to be a
that used to be a
My children were born in the same
hospital            as I was
 as my mother was
Thirty years apart we were buzzed
through the same ward doors
and we emptied ourselves there.
But I am so full. Meaning staying
in oneself. Meaning staying
in one’s’ body. I am full of this
place—home, and its used-to-be
banks, used-to-be diners. I see
myself change against the backdrop.
Two nights ago I dreamt a river
cut me off from someplace—
where? I couldn’t leap from one
bank to the other, couldn’t bear
the cold current. Then all at once
my dream-self settled. Thought,
Nothing to it. Meaning staying.


Image by mario.

About the Author:

Maggie Smith is the author of three prizewinning books: Lamp of the Body, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, and Good Bones, the title poem from which was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International. Smith has received a Pushcart Prize as well as fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, APR, The Believer, The Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Best American Poetry, and on the CBS primetime drama Madam Secretary.