Maggie Smith Click to

Maggie Smith is the author of Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005) and The List of Dangers (Kent State University Press, 2010). She has received fellowships from the NEA, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives in Bexley, Ohio, and works as a freelance writer and editor.

 The man has been gone so long,
his own child won’t know him.

She and the woman, they must have
their own stories now, their own songs—

some for hauling wood and water,
others to sweeten the girl’s sleep.

The wilderness is a strange place
to slumber, always the other-worldly

howl of something too close.
The man has been gone so long,

working over the mountain, maybe
his child’s hair will be dark and wild

as feathers, her eyes more yellow,
hawk-eyes always spying birds

in the leaves. When he left, the girl
was moon-faced, her wispy curls

as gold as his long ago. But memory’s
spell is always broken. The man knows

her curls will darken as his did,
like honey left too long in the jar.


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