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About this poet

Maggie Smith received a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MFA from the Ohio State University. She is the author of Weep Up (Tupelo Press, 2017); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), winner of the 2012 Dorset prize and a 2016 Independent Publisher Book Award; and Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award. Smith has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among others. She works as a freelance writer and editor and serves as a consulting editor to the Kenyon Review. She lives in Bexley, Ohio.

Good Bones

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

This poem originally appeared in Waxwing, Issue 10, in June 2016. Used with permission of the author.

This poem originally appeared in Waxwing, Issue 10, in June 2016. Used with permission of the author.

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith is the author of The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), winner of the 2012 Dorset prize and a 2016 Independent Publisher Book Award, and Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005). 

by this poet

poem

When my daughter drizzles gold
on her breakfast toast, I remind her

she’s seen the bee men in our tree,
casting smoke like a spell until

the swarm thrums itself to sleep.
She’s seen them wipe the air clean

with smoke, the way a hand smudges
chalk from a slate, erasing

poem

I must have just missed a parade—
horse droppings and hard candy
in the road, miniature American
flags staked into the grass, plastic
chairs lining the curb down this

two-lane highway, 36 in the open
country, briefly Main Street in town.
When I was small, I sat on a curb

poem

En la tierra del olvido, donde de nada nadie se acuerda…

In the land where all is forgotten, where no one remembers anything,
birds cut off their beaks to share your sorrow, Little Torn Shoe.
Twice of half a moon throbbed,