Mary Szybist


Knocking or Nothing

Knock me or nothing, the things of this world
ring in me, shrill-gorged and shrewish,

clicking their charms and their chains and their spouts.
Let them. Let the fans whirr.

All the similar virgins must have emptied
their flimsy pockets, and I

was empty enough,
sugared and stretched on the unmown lawn,

dumb as the frost-pink tongues
of the unpruned roses.

When you put your arms around me in that moment,
when you pulled me to you and leaned

back, when you lifted me
just a few inches, when you shook me

To You Again

Again this morning my eyes woke up too close
to your eyes,

their almost green orbs
too heavy-lidded to really look back.

To wake up next to you
is ordinary. I do not even need to look at you

to see you.
But I do look. So when you come to me

in your opulent sadness, I see
you do not want me

to unbutton you
so I cannot do the one thing

I can do.
Now it is almost one a. m. I am still at my desk

and you are upstairs at your desk a staircase
away from me. Already it is years

Touch Gallery: Joan of Arc

The sculptures in this gallery have been
carefully treated with a protective wax
so that visitors may touch them.
— exhibitions, the art institute
of chicago
Stone soldier, it's okay now.
I've removed my rings, my watch, my bracelets.

I'm allowed, brave girl,
to touch you here, where the mail covers your throat,
your full neck, down your shoulders
to here, where raised unlatchable buckles
mock-fasten your plated armor.

Nothing peels from you.