It sounds like someone wound up the wrens
and let them go, let them chatter across your lawn
like cheap toys, and from here an airplane
seems to fly only from one tree to another, barely
chalking a line between them. We say the naked eye
as if the eye could be clothed, as if it isn’t the world
that refuses to undress unless we turn our backs.
It shows us what it chooses, nothing more,
and it’s not waxing pastoral. There is too much
now at stake. The skeletal rattle you hear
at the window could be only the hellion roses
in the wind, their thorns etching the glass,
but it could be bones. The country we call ours
isn’t, and it’s full of them. Every year you dig
that goddamn rose bush from the bed, spoon it
from soil like a tumor, and every year it grows back
thick and wild. We say in the grand scheme of things
as if there were one. We say that’s not how
the world works as if the world works.
Maggie Smith is the author of, most recently, Good Bones, and her poems have appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, The Believer, The Paris Review, Best American Poetry, and on the CBS primetime drama Madam Secretary.