Dragonflies

By: Danusha Laméris

Featured art: Blue-tipped Dragonfly illustration from The Naturalist’s Miscellany by George Shaw

I wish you could see them: two thin blue needles
hovering above a bed of loosestrife and clover,
slivers of electricity, humming, almost invisible—
a glimmer of azure against the hillside. How
do their bodies hold the requisite organs?
Never mind the pull that makes them want
to wend their forms together this way. A tangle
of wires working themselves into union
this Sunday afternoon. Which, come to think of it,

is something I’d like to do with you, the portion
of desire I carry that much greater—as are the consequences
of crossing over into that lush country of dry grass
and end-of-summer weeds, where, if we weren’t
otherwise attached, we could make the most
of our own fleshly burden, lay it down
on the soft earth, its fine dust and buried flint,
the scattered flecks of fool’s gold.
Don’t you want to? Doesn’t it seem unfair
to be outdone by these mere fragments?
Almost more air than matter? But timing,
after all, is everything. And it looks like
I’ll have to appease myself with this tableau:
these two writhing out their little ecstasy
in broad daylight, coming together and then apart
and then together again, as if they had all day.
Which, given the brevity of their lives,
is quite a decadent expanse. Let’s try
and be happy for them, living into their late hours
with such abandon, while we are still
relatively young, the gift of want
stretched out before us, limitless and absolute.


Danusha Laméris is the author of The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), and Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2020). Some of her poems have been published in The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. The recipient of the 2020 Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, she teaches poetry independently, and was the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.

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