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Sunday, December 19, 2021


by Katherine Smith
(Ann Telnaes/The Washington Post)

I asked the apple tree
how can you live, knowing?
and the trees answered
scattering brown fruit for deer.

I asked the field sectioned off with black tarp
how can you live, knowing?
And the grass answered
cracking the sidewalk with green.

I asked the mother
how can you live, knowing?
And she answered
holding her child in her lap.

I asked the smiling family posing
with their guns, how can you live, knowing?
And they offered 
silent smiles glittering like knives.

Katherine Smith’s recent poetry publications include appearances in Boulevard, North American Review, Mezzo Cammin, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and many other journals. Her short fiction has appeared in Fiction International and Gargoyle. Her first book Argument by Design (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) appeared in 2003. Her second book of poems Woman Alone on the Mountain (Iris Press) appeared in 2014. She works at Montgomery College in Maryland.