We’ve been at this for years.
So long, it’s a kind of marriage.
Why not believe the shadow
feels affection for the flesh?
That it longs to be bodied, that it dreams
of all it could do for me?
Sometimes I imagine handing it
a bag of groceries from the trunk
and sending it into the house.
We’ve been at this so long,
it’s grown on me. It grows,
blurry doppelganger
so nondescript, it’s hard to know
even close-up—all outline, nothing
inside. What is a shadow
if not vestigial? A partner only
in a certain light? I’ve thought
about calling it Lula, the name
I’d been saving for another
child but will never need.
We’ve been at this long enough—
so long, it feels like marriage.
We touch without touch,
take turns outgrowing one another.

Maggie Smith is the author of Weep Up (Tupelo Press, forthcoming 2018); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press 2015); Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press 2005); and three prizewinning chapbooks. Her poems appear regularly in journals such as The Paris Review, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Guernica, and Virginia Quarterly Review. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Smith is a freelance writer and editor, and she serves as a consulting editor to the Kenyon Review.