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December 18, 2008

Maggie Smith

For just a fraction of a moment
that afternoon, if we think of time
as being a whole, you were the newest

person in the world. You were

the emptiest vessel on earth,

knowing nothing of this place

or of yourself—that you even were

a self, that a self was something

one could be, that one could be

at all, and what was being?

For that narrowest sliver
of a whole, you were the least

experienced person on earth,
and then you weren't. You knew me

before you knew your own body—

what to do with your hands,
your pink fists battering your face.

We swaddled you as if against

that confusion, though I tell you
that confusion never leaves. The body

remains a house unaware of its rooms.

(The Hong Kong Review, Vol. I, No. 2)

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