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Firefly Under the Tongue

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I love you from the sharp tang of the fermentation;   
in the blissful pulp. Newborn insects, blue.   
In the unsullied juice, glazed and ductile.   
Cry that distills the light:   
through the fissures in fruit trees;   
under mossy water clinging to the shadows. The   
            papillae, the grottos.   
In herbaceous dyes, instilled. From the flustered touch.   
            Luster   
oozing, bittersweet: of feracious pleasures,   
of play splayed in pulses.
                                    Hinge   
(Wrapped in the night's aura, in violaceous clamor,   
refined, the boy, with the softened root of his tongue   
expectant, touches,   
with that smooth, unsustainable, lubricity—sensitive lily   
folding into the rocks   
if it senses the stigma, the ardor of light—the substance, the arris
fine and vibrant—in its ecstatic petal, distended—[jewel   
pulsing half-open; teats], the acid   
juice bland [ice], the salt marsh,   
the delicate sap [Kabbalah], the nectar   
             of the firefly.)

Source: Poetry (April 2007)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

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Firefly Under the Tongue

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  • Mexican poet and translator Coral Bracho was born in Mexico City. Bracho is the author of several collections of poetry, including El ser que va a morir (1982); Tierra de entraña ardiente, a collaboration with painter Irma Palacios; Ese espacio, ese jardín (2003), which won the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize; and Cuarto de hotel (2007). Firefly under the Tongue: Selected Poems (2008) was translated by poet Forrest Gander. Bracho’s impact on Mexican poetry has been compared to poet John Ashbery’s influence on American verse. Bracho’s layered, long-lined poems attend equally to sound patterns and lush, unspooling imagery. As Gander observes, “Her diction spills out along ceaselessly shifting beds of sound. . . . Bracho’s early poems make sense first as music, and music propels them.”
    A selection of poems from her first two collections was included in the anthologies Medusario (1996, ed. Roberto Echavarren, José Kozer, and Jacobo Sefamí), Reversible Monuments: An...

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