A. D. LAUREN-ABUNASSAR


A. D. Lauren-Abunassar is an Arab-American writer who resides in New York.
Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Narrative, Rattle, Boulevard,
and elsewhere. She was a 2020 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg finalist
and the winner of the 2020 Palette Emerging Poet Contest. She is a graduate of
the Iowa Writers' Workshop.






On Holding a Dying Firefly

//
Rejecting fingerflinch at
small shuffling over
wellbitten skin. Trying to hold
a weight less than love. The firefly
less than living.

//
Hand extended the way
a tugged ripcord reaches
for another rush of air. Instead finding
fireflies.

//
Like stroking the tropopause.
A weightlessness that comes in longing
unrealized.
A piece of the glacier cleaved off
and afloat. The firefly finds twilight
a comfortless hour.

//
Expecting air and finding light.
The durable, permanent noun
of a body. The body
is all firefly and light snatched:
a reprimand. The cause of
winter's ceaseless coming.

//
There is nothing new to say about a firefly.
They tell me. The firefly is already
a poem.

//
A girl falls in love, in return
is given a firefly. No one asks any questions.
The water loosens an unheard sigh.

//
Like every stray animal you ever
returned to the wilderness: you don't pray
until you're frightened. You're frightened.

//
You saw a God in every
upturned wing. A whole season frozen
on a body folding in.
Like that firefly.

//
A summer that feels like a winter.
A rain that falls unchecked. Catch a firefly
the way you'd cup the storm when left
lonely. You know just sight never feels like enough.
You know enough never feels like enough.

//
It was a good night for poems.
A bad night for fireflies.
A good night for fireflies
who longed to be poems. A bad night
for poems who knew they could
never be fireflies.

//
Something true enough. A seminal
hunger. Hold the firefly's last
turning the way you'd cradle
a letter from a past life. You'll outrun this
it tells you. Gives no further
instruction.

//
Like cupping the empty space left
in fontanelles. Like smoothing
an unborn daughter's eyebrows. The space
is made of the wings of lost fireflies.

//
The way you'd plunge
fingertip-first towards a lover. A voice
circles: but he does not love you. The voice
is not the firefly's.

//
Steady as any unchanging
owl. Cautious and
small and unhurried. Finally good or getting
better at Saying please. A kiss.
A small kiss
before leaving.

//
Like every stray animal you ever found
lost in the weedbed. Can I keep it? You ask.
This is not the love you are meant for.

//
Together, we rewrote the pantomime.
There are ways of beginning
that start with the firefly. Hold them the way
you held a smile in love. Forgiveness is a small
price to pay.

//
For every love left uncaught,
some light moves upward



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