2017: Maggie Smith, “Language of Rivers”

Here you are, on the verge of everything,
burning pieces of this place

into your memory—the river speaking
cold and slurred, the sycamores

shedding their skin and leaning in
to listen. Don’t let slip the Ohio light

at dusk, how it trembles between
silver and yellow, or the rolling

backwoods drives, the litany of roads:
315, 36, 37, 23. Maybe you’re feeling

your life is just beginning, but already,
this moment, you’re burning

your mark into this place.
You’re learning the language of rivers.

When you speak, the trees lean in
and listen. Here you are, shining—

already shining the kind of light
that makes anywhere home.