A Poem For Sunday


“Heroine” by Mary Szybist:

Just before the curtain closes, she turns
toward me, loosening
her gauzy veil & bright hair—

This, she seems to say, this
to create scene, the pure sweep of it,
this to give in, feel the lushness,
this & just a little theatrical lighting
& you, too, can be happy,
she’s sure of it—

It’s as if I cut her heart-whole from the sky,
rag & twist & tongue & the now terrible speed
of her turning

toward me like the spirit
I meant to portray, indefatigable—

see how bravely she turns, how exactly true to the turning,
& in the turning
most herself,
as she arranges herself for the exit

withholding nothing, unraveling
the light in her hair as her face

her bright, unapproachable face
says only that
whatever the next scene is,
she will fill it.

(From Incarnadine © 2013 by Mary Szybist. Reprinted by kind permission of Graywolf Press. Photo by Julija Rauluševičiūtė)