Maggie Smith



If I reach my hand out
                                              in front of me, 

if I sweep my arm
                                 through the air here, 

I feel I am touching
                                 something, slipping

through the invisible

around me—
                           light erected between 

sky & ground, 
                                        city within a city. 

Is this faith? 
                           For years I’d thought 

the space around me
                                         was empty, 

waiting for me
                                         to enter it, to fill it. 

The air was a blank
                                         page I could write on 

with my index finger. 
                                         I’d sign my name 

near my face, each G
                                         a half-assed 

little squiggle. 
                          I thought wrong. 

There is structure
                                      in the air we move 

through. What room
                                      is this? What hallway
am I feeling my way
                                      down? What house

have I opened a door to
                                                    & what is held

by this scaffolding
                                         I can’t yet see?

What are they
                            supporting, these beams

of light?



MAGGIE SMITH is the author of, most recently, Good Bones (Tupelo Press) and The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, Ploughshares, and Tin House. Her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and was named the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International.

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