Night/Light/ poem by Mary Newell

I felt guilty about my nightlight
in the bathroom, surrounded every 
morning with a cluster of dead bugs.
I pulled its plug and stumbled
in the dark a stolid week. But
who am I to know what moths need?
I want to die like St. Francis:
arms stretched, standing, not 
slipping into a morphinated haze. 
But maybe reveling in brightness -
even artificial – can console or
elevate, if you’re short on time.
Now I’m content to be the one                                    
who tidies up the shelf        
where moths come to die.


Mary Newell authored the chapbook TILT/ HOVER/ VEER (Codhill Press 2019) and the forthcoming Re-SURGE (Trainwreck Press 2021), poems in journals and anthologies, and essays. She is co-editor of Poetics for the More-than-Human-World: An Anthology of Poetry and Commentary. A former Assistant Professor, she curates the Hudson Highlands Poetry Series. Newell (MA Columbia, BA Berkeley) received a doctorate from Fordham University with a focus on environment and embodiment in contemporary women’s writing.

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