Two Poems by Molly McQuade

BOMB 75 Spring 2001
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Discover MFA Programs in Art and Writing

Foreign Body

I would ease into you
simple as sunlight,
sudden as a moth;
as dust and silence
I would infiltrate, invite
your many parts to speak
again, as strangers
are divided by years.
I would ride your blood
all through its chambers,
not disrespect, disoblige;
would watch your urgent
humors as I paused
long about the lucid
sheaf of tissue.
You do not know
how much I would bring to you:
gardens, almost, cycling through your prone,
your heroic, husk.
And when my capsule burst
at last, my sweetness
unearthed to you,
in minutes I would widen,
I would disperse.
I would inhabit you,
and you would mind me less.

 

Species Fever

I like to sit and watch lizards, at length,
but we can’t live together,
so they are under the heat lamp,

purple and shrouded,
and they persist.
Their feet were forgiven much earlier

when there was much to forgive;
they’ve clambered and scattered into this era.
No one is chiding them now.

Think, after all, of the family:
their long, rusticated bodies
on the big false twig,

languorous and alert;
look at the lustrous
dry tails, level

without a twitch;
see how the wrinkles ride the ribs
from the edge,

lovely curls somehow caught
in a sapient crunch
and left to hanker

for the skeleton;
and look, above all, at the fingers.
They are not unlike our clever new wands,

making placements insatiably,
and yet left at a loss
with idleness.

But theirs are always idle,
never ignorant—they are so decorous.
The narrow ribbon of feeling flickers between;

the large eyelids hover,
drop shut under the healing lamp,
and the well-worked skin

scales these small continents,
aging with them in species fever.
A bruise in the elder’s armpit

is a badge of pain
and a portent,
and the younger ones sniff it.

Their thighs are natty, though thin,
and there is much mildness
in the sudden family bond.

A memory of time before
time enchants them, scurvy as they are,
intent on those millipedes,

and willing to snap off
the ends of each other’s tails.
It is not unfriendly, their binge and probe,

it is just family
left on a precipice
late in the century.

Molly McQuade’s recent books include BarbarismBy Herself, and Stealing Glimpses. Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in TricycleThe Yale Review and Virginia Quarterly Review.

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Originally published in

BOMB 75, Spring 2001

Featuring interviews with Wendy Wasserstein, Wong Kar-Wai, Amos Gitai, Eduardo Galeano, Tobias Schneebaum, Micheal Goldberg, Samuel Mockbee, Andrea Zittel. 

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