Two poems

by Anne McCrary Sullivan Issue: Spring/Summer 2021

Benediction with Cello

I can never keep them completely separate—
blessings          and the French blessures. 

What’s the difference anyway
                      blessing              wound.
Think stigmata.   Think holy blood. 

Torn by storm        struck by lightning    
marked by char    every    one    of these pines    
shows signs           a deep gash      
bark ripped     heartwood gouged.  

Beetles move in    ants come   and then 
the probing woodpeckers     as streams 
of balming resin pour        and thick lips form
around the busy wound    glowing    red

growing hard, its only purpose      healing  
(unlike the simple clarity     of sap    
thin      conducting     daily business).  

No wonder we        the ever-wounded   prize 
the amber jewel’s light    tremble    at tender     
resonance     rosin      on the horsehair bow. 

Lexicon

I want to defy what I’ve been taught

fill my lines with scientific names, creatures 
I have known—tunicates, ctenophores, mollusca.  

And if I were to praise the moon?

In my childhood, Latin names were as ordinary as rice, as likely 
to come up at the kitchen table—bryozoans, renilla, butter, please. 

And that moon—over water, over mud.  Always a prediction—
when to look for limulus, when to dig for chaetopterus.

Every word is ordinary     if you enter into relation with it.
No word is ordinary     if you enter into relation with it.

Copepod     holds the memory of a mother      as wondrously as    
bread.



Anne McCrary Sullivan

Anne McCrary Sullivan grew up on the coast of North Carolina in the company of her marine biologist mother.  She is a Florida Master Naturalist and wilderness canoeist with an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College.  Her poems have appeared in the Gettysburg Review, the Southern Review and elsewhere. She is author of Ecology II: Throat Song from the Everglades, co-author of Paddling the Everglades Wilderness Waterway and (forthcoming) The Everglades: Stories of Grit and Spirit from the Mangrove Wilderness. Find her on the web at www.annemccrarysullivan.com