If you encountered Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones” as it traveled around the internet a few years ago, then you already know how beautifully she captures the concerns of a mother (or any parent-figure) for their children–or the anxiety all of us might share for future generations.
“At Your Age, I wore a Darkness”
several sizes too big. It hung on me
like a mother’s dress. Even now,
as we speak, I am stitching
a darkness you’ll need to unravel,
unraveling another you’ll need
to restitch. What can I give you
that you can keep? Once you asked,
Does the sky stop? It doesn’t stop,
it just stops being one thing
and starts being another.
Sometimes we hold hands
and tip our heads way back
so the blue fills our whole field
of vision, so we feel like
we’re in it. We don’t stop,
we just stop being what we are
and start being what?
Where? What can I give you
to carry there? These shadows
of leaves—the lace in solace?
This soft, hand-me-down
darkness? What can I give you
that will be of use in your next life,
the one you will live without me?