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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 1, 2018.
About this Poem 
“This poem is in conversation with my friend Michele Glazer, and especially with the struggles she engages with in her book It Is Hard to Look at What We Came to Think We’d Come to See. It is also, of course, in conversation with Genesis.”
—Mary Szybist
 

In the Beginning God Said Light

and there was light.
Now God says, Give them a little theatrical lighting
 
and they’re happy,
and we are. So many of us
 
dressing each morning, testing
endless combinations, becoming in our mirrors
 
more ourselves, imagining,
in an entrance, the ecstatic
 
weight of human eyes.
Now that the sun is sheering
 
toward us, what is left
but to let it close in
 
for our close-up? Let us really feel
how good it feels
 
to be still in it, making
every kind of self that can be
 
looked at. God, did you make us
to be your bright accomplices?
 
God, here are our shining spines.
Let there be no more dreams of being
 
more than a beginning.
Let it be
 
that to be is to be
backlit, and then to be only that light.

Copyright © 2018 by Mary Szybist. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 1, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Mary Szybist. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 1, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Mary Szybist

Mary Szybist

Mary Szybist is the author of Incarnadine (Graywolf Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry, and Granted (Alice James Books, 2003), winner of the 2003 Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books and the 2004 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award.

by this poet

poem
Flashing in the grass; the mouth of a spider clung
     to the dark of it: the legs of the spider
held the tucked wings close,
     held the abdomen still in the midst of calling
with thrusts of phosphorescent light--

When I am tired of being human, I try to remember
     the two stuck together like burrs. I