In Tennessee I Found a Firefly

By Mary Szybist Mary Szybist
Flashing in the grass; the mouth of a spider clung   
          to the dark of it: the legs of the spider   
held the tucked wings close,
          held the abdomen still in the midst of calling   
with thrusts of phosphorescent light—

When I am tired of being human, I try to remember
          the two stuck together like burrs. I try to place them   
central in my mind where everything else must
          surround them, must see the burr and the barb of them.   
There is courtship, and there is hunger. I suppose
          there are grips from which even angels cannot fly.   
Even imagined ones. Luciferin, luciferase.
          When I am tired of only touching,
I have my mouth to try to tell you
          what, in your arms, is not erased.

Mary Szybist, “In Tennessee I Found a Firefly” from Granted. Copyright © 2003 by Mary Szybist. Reprinted with the permission of Alice James Books.

Source: Granted (Alice James Books, 2003)

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Poet Mary Szybist

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Nature, Relationships, Love, Animals, Desire

Holidays Valentine's Day

 Mary  Szybist

Biography

Mary Szybist grew up in Pennsylvania. She earned degrees from the University of Virginia and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. Her first collection of poetry, Granted (2003), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the 2004 Great Lakes Colleges Associations New Writers Award.  Her second book, Incarnadine (2013), won the National Book Award for Poetry. . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Relationships, Love, Animals, Desire

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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