In the Grand Scheme of Things

p
o
e
m
s

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.

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