Poem of the Week, by Maggie Smith

The photo on the right is one of a bunch of family photos in my living room. Is that your daughter? people sometimes ask, and I smile. She does look like me, doesn’t she? I say.

But the girl on the windsurfer is me, long ago, back in a life I used to live: a tiny one-room apartment, coffee from the miniature percolator my grandmother gave me, a rented electric typewriter perched on an apple crate, the camping pad I slept on because the room was too small for a bed. Annie Lennox singing about how sweet dreams are made of these.

I remember the day that photo was taken. Trying not to fall so my hair would stay dry. Trying to lean back far enough for that perfect balance between my body and the wind’s invisible force.

I tried hard back then, and I try hard now. Nothing was perfect then. Nothing is perfect now. Are that girl and I still, somehow, on both sides of here and there?

Threshold, by Maggie Smith

You want a door you can be
            on both sides of at once

                        You want to be
            on both sides of here

and there, now and then,
            together and—what

                        do we call the life
            we would wish back,

If we could? The before?)
            —alone. But any open

                        space may be
            a threshold, an arch

of entering and leaving.
            Crossing a field, wading

                        through nothing
            but timothy grass,

imagine yourself passing from
            and into. Passing through

                        doorway after
            doorway after doorway.

Friends! Please join the wondrous Maggie Smith and me in a virtual conversation this Monday evening, August 2, at 7 pm CST. We’ll be discussing her gorgeous new book Goldenrod, in which I found this beautiful poem. Free and open to all. Just click here to register.

For more information on Maggie Smith, please check out her website.

My poems podcast, Words by Wintercan be found here.


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