You Could Never Take A Car to Greenland,

my daughter says. Unless the car could float.
Unless by car you mean boat. Unless the ocean
turned to ice and promised not to crack.
Unless Greenland floated over here,
having lifted its anchor. Unless we could row
our country there. Our whole continent
would have to come along, wouldn't it? Unless
we cut ourselves free. What kind of saw
could we use for that? What kind of oars
could deliver one country to another?
She asks, Why is Greenland called Greenland
if it’s not green? Why is Iceland called
Iceland if it’s greener than Greenland?
Unless it’s a trick, a lie: the name Greenland
is an ad for Greenland. Who would go
promised nothing but ice? Who would cut
her home to pieces and row away for that?

Maggie Smith, "You Could Never Take a Car to Greenland" from Good Bones.  Copyright © 2017 by Maggie Smith.  Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press.
More Poems by Maggie Smith