for Michelle

Ankle-deep, squatting among the darting minnows, having caught herself again focused on her reflected nose and hand-me-down chin, she notices nothing, so lets herself wonder (she swore she wouldn’t) how long she must stay this way before she is transformed. And what would she become— a root that grips the bank, or a sliver of the rocks her brothers never tire of skipping across the water? Then another thought enters. Maybe, unnoticed as she is, she might become something altogether different than roots and rock, something buried, forgotten, or better, buried so as never to be known, a thing unnamed, something, at last, unnamable.

MIKE SMITH teaches at Delta State University and edits Tapestry, a literary magazine focusing on the Mississippi Delta. He has published three collections of poetry, including Multiverse, a collection of two anagrammatic cycles. Recent poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Chattahoochee Review, The Iowa Review, Notre Dame Magazine, and The Notre Dame Review. In addition, his translation of the first part of Goethe’s Faust was published by Shearsman Books in 2012.