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 award-winning author of three full-length poetry collections, including most recently, Good Bones (Tupelo Press, 2017) and The Well Speaks of its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015). Her poem “Good Bones” went viral in 2016 and even made an appearance on the hit TV show Madam Secretary. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.