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?

Maggie Smith, published in Nashville Review


“Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?”
 “Yes,” said Harry.
 “You called her a liar?”
 “You told her He Who Must Not Be Named is back?”
 Professor McGonagall sat down behind her desk, watching Harry closely. Then she said, “Have a biscuit, Potter.”
“Have - what?”
“Have a biscuit,” she repeated impatiently, indicating a tartan tin lying on top of one of the piles of papers on her desk. “And sit down.”