ISSUE SIX: Smallest Eyry | next poem →

The Self-Flattery of the Old Soul:

The Old Soul Is Missing a Sock

Ellen McGrath Smith

The old soul is missing a sock. She is lying at the bottom of the stairs as the light begins to designate the transom. There is a bag beside her. The old soul is also a bag; coins spill from the corner of her mouth. The bottom of the stairs was where she started, but the stairs kept multiplying as she went to raise her first leg to the first step, so she stayed where she was. Overnight. A dark night of the old soul, in which she paid a visit to another old soul. Over drinks, they filled themselves like socks with the well-trod past, and as usual, marveled at their emptiness. The mode of transportation was a wall, a door, a window. The old soul caught her reflection in the glass, her resemblance to a potato. Everything she trains her eyes on roots her to the bitter loam.

Ellen McGrath Smith teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and in the Carlow University Madwomen in the Attic program. Her writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Los Angeles Review, Cimarron, and other journals, and in several anthologies, including Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. Smith has been the recipient of an Orlando Prize, an Academy of American Poets award, a Rainmaker Award from Zone 3 magazine, and a 2007 Individual Artist grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her second chapbook, Scatter, Feed, was published by Seven Kitchens Press in the fall of 2014.

ISSUE SIX: Smallest Eyry | next poem →

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