Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 22 . . .


     by Kathleen T. Smith

How can they call me “mad”

When I thrust the dagger in

And smeared the blood,

Bright flowers of it,

On sleeping guards?

Because I roam the towers

At midnight, chasing

Banquo’s children?

Because I scrub my hands

Raw? (Out, damned spots.)

Those witches—

They wither all my buds.

I reach for the poppy

To sooth my head.

It shrivels, blows away.

I just can’t sleep.

Being a king’s wife takes

Every shred of dignity,

Every ounce of strength.

But I am not mad.

They must not say

That I am mad.


Kathleen T. Smith is an English instructor at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, where she has taught for ten years. She received the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s first literary fellowship in 1995, and has one chapbook, Constructing the Memory Map (Blue Heron Press). When she’s not grading papers, she writes fiction and poetry, and works in her gardens.


© 2011 Kathleen T. Smith