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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 Good Bones (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

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,

poem

In what I think is a dream,
I look at some manifestation of the past

& say, I know you’re not real. Someone has to.
As most dream-things do, the past

shapeshifts, reconstitutes itself with new
eyes & a new haircut—the past

made over—& then I forget its name.

poem
           Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
                            —Wisława Szymborska

My handwriting is all over these woods. 
No, my handwriting is these woods, 

each tree a half-print, half-cursive scrawl, 
each loop a limb. My house is somewhere 
here, & I have
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