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Category archive for: Cecilia Woloch

Fireflies

And these are my vices:

impatience, bad temper, wine,

the more than occasional cigarette,

an almost unquenchable thirst to be kissed,

a hunger that isn’t hunger

but something like fear, a staunching of dread

and a taste for bitter gossip

of those who’ve wronged me—for bitterness—

and flirting with strangers and saying sweetheart

to children whose names I don’t even know

and driving too fast and not being Buddhist

enough to let insects live in my house

or those cute little toylike mice

whose soft gray bodies in sticky traps

I carry, lifeless, out to the trash

and that I sometimes prefer the company of a book

to a human being, and humming

and living inside my head

and how as a girl I trailed a slow-hipped aunt

at twilight across the lawn

and learned to catch fireflies in my hands,

to smear their sticky, still-pulsing flickering

onto my fingers and earlobes like jewels.

from CarpathiaFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2009
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Ghost Hunger

Sometimes when I wipe the bowl with my bread

when I scramble one egg, two eggs, with milk

when I stir the kasha until it’s thick

when I sit at the table and bow my head

I think of how my father ate

how he bowed his head—though he didn’t pray

at least not in the usual way of grace

but always that posture over his plate

of supplication, gratitude—

the hungry shoulders of the boy

who’d stuffed his mouth with pulled grass once

who never got over that there was enough

Sometimes I wipe the bowl with my bread

Sometimes I feed his ghost this prayer

from CarpathiaFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2009
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Be Always Late

after Baudelaire

One should always be late. One should always be running/half-running in high-heeled boots through the streets with the church bells ringing the hour one should have already arrived. And be still en route, still a bridge away, still a sliver of silvery river to go. One should have clouds at one’s shoulders like breath, panting clouds and a gasp of wind at the nape of the neck to keep one cool. The heart should be clicking against the ribs: I’m late, I’m late, I’m late. One should be turning just then past the church, past evening beginning in every cafe, past the poor little park with its late little flowers, disheveled little flames. Because somewhere someone waits. Because somewhere one has already arrived and will never rush past this again. One’s self with one’s coat like a black sky flung; one’s own shadow flaring out behind. And the sound of those bells in one’s hair, in one’s bones. Now and ever. Not never: late.

from CarpathiaFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2009
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

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