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“During Lockdown, I Let the Dog Sleep in My Bed Again”

Maggie Smith

“During Lockdown, I Let the Dog Sleep in My Bed Again” by Maggie Smith

Last night my daughter cried at bedtime.

Of loneliness, she said. She’s seen the graph,

the jagged mountain we need to press

into a meadow, and maybe she pictures

the drive home from southern Ohio,

how the green hills flatten without us

doing a damn thing. No sacrifice required.

I tell her the steep peak makes loneliness

our work, makes an honorable task of it.

But I shut myself in the bathroom and cry, hard,

into a hand towel. I walk alone in the snow,

squinting up into the big, wet flakes,

letting them bathe my face. I tell myself

it is a kind of touch. I tell myself it will do.