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  • The Hum
  • Maggie Smith (bio)

    It’s not a question  without the mark: How do we livewith trust in a world that will continue

    to betray us. Hear my voice  not lift at the end. How do we trustwhen we continue to be betrayed.

    For the first time I doubt  we’ll find our way back. But howcan we not. See how the terminal

    mark allows a question  to dress as statement and vice versa.Sometimes if I am quiet and still,

    I can hear a small hum  inside me, an appliance left running.Years ago I thought it was coming

    from my bones. The hum  kept me company, and I thoughtthank god for bones, for the fidelity

    of bones—they’ll be there  until the end and then some.Now what. How to continue.

    I’ve started calling the hum  the soul. Today I have to holdmy breath to hear it. What question

    does it keep not asking  and not asking, never changingits pitch. How do I answer. [End Page 181]

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith is the author of three prizewinning books: Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005), The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), and Good Bones (Tupelo Press, 2017), the title poem from which was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International. Her poems and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, the Believer, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry, the Washington Post, and on the CBS primetime drama Madam Secretary.



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