Louisiana Purchase

By Charlie Smith b. 1947 Charlie Smith
Who knows but that Meriwether Lewis’s   
lost diaries might turn up yet
packed in a can in some cramped ex-midden   
dug up a thousand years from now,   
that elegant, exfoliate style
continue on up the Missouri, into sadness
and disrepute, the suicide in a hotel in Tennessee   
no more important now than the bundle   
of grasses my friend made out in the woods   
yesterday and gave to me after a meeting   
in which she confessed she’s afraid of everything   
that’s coming. The past I don’t mind, she said,   
and laughed as if that was something.

Charlie Smith, “Louisiana Purchase” from Heroin and Other Poems. Copyright © 2000 by Charlie Smith. Reprinted with the permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. This selection may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Source: Heroin and Other Poems (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2000)

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Poet Charlie Smith b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Disappointment & Failure, Living, Time & Brevity

 Charlie  Smith


Poet and novelist Charlie Smith was born in Moultrie, Georgia. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and, after serving in the Peace Corps in Micronesia, earned a BA from Duke University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He has written five New York Times Notable Books and has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has also won the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Disappointment & Failure, Living, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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