This grant comes at a crucial time for me. Since graduate school, the role of poetry in my life has been whittled down considerably. I work one full-time job as an editor and another as a mother to a spirited toddler named Violet. Most of my writing is done on my lunch hour or after my daughter is asleep--and when something has to give, poetry is usually the first thing to be set aside. Being recognized by the NEA has renewed my energy, my drive, and, perhaps above all, my belief in what is possible. I'm incredibly grateful for this fellowship. It has given me permission to prioritize my writing, and it will afford me uninterrupted time and space in which to work.
Al fin de los tiempos, el viento triste dice todo…
At the end of time, the sad wind says everything
left on its breath. Little Stick of Kindling, you lie
awake, expecting word. Each night stars arrive
like letters from the dead, never addressed but somehow
delivered. Little Daughter of Gypsies, the postman rides
his horse to the end of the earth, only to find a hole
in the bottom of his satchel, a tear in the sky where
the constellation was pinned. Little Song to the Tune
of Greensleeves, whatever light we receive is long gone.
The sad wind shakes the stars from their branches.
They fall, blazing, like golden apples. Little Cheek Flushed
with Fever, fill your apron with them. Some are snarled
in your black hair, some hiss into the sea. You can find
lit places fathoms down, bright as an overexposed
photograph taken on your street at night. Little Fruit
Fallen from the Heavens, those lights will burn out.
Dusk is darkness held at arm's length. Now you see
how much the end of time resembles the beginning.
This story entered in a silver trail and came out golden.
Maggie Smith was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1977. She is the author of Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award; Nesting Dolls (Pudding House, 2005), winner of the Pudding House Chapbook Competition; and The List of Dangers (Kent State University Press, 2010), a Wick Poetry Series selection.
Smith holds an MFA from Ohio State University, where she won two Academy of American Poets Prizes. She has also received three Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council. She currently works as an editor and lives in Bexley, Ohio, with her husband and young daughter. For more information, visit www.maggiesmithpoet.com.
Photo by Jenna Wojdacz