By Mary Szybist Mary Szybist
Mary who mattered to me, gone or asleep
among fruits, spilled   

in ash, in dust, I did not   

leave you. Even now I can't keep from
composing you, limbs & blue cloak   

& soft hands. I sleep to the sound   

of your name, I say there is no Mary   
except the word Mary, no trace   

on the dust of my pillowslip. I only   

dream of your ankles brushed by dark violets,
of honeybees above you   

murmuring into a crown. Antique queen,   

the night dreams on: here are the pears
I have washed for you, here the heavy-winged doves,   

asleep by the hyacinths. Here I am,   

having bathed carefully in the syllables   
of your name, in the air and the sea of them, the sharp scent   

of their sea foam. What is the matter with me?

Mary, what word, what dust   
can I look behind? I carried you a long way   

into my mirror, believing you would carry me

back out. Mary, I am still   
for you, I am still a numbness for you.

Source: Poetry (November 2008).


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Poet Mary Szybist

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Religion, Christianity, Gender & Sexuality, Faith & Doubt