And these are my vices:
impatience, bad temper, wine,
the more than occasional cigarette,
an almost unquenchable thirst to be kissed,
a hunger that isn’t hunger
but something like fear, a staunching of dread
and a taste for bitter gossip
of those who’ve wronged me—for bitterness—
and flirting with strangers and saying sweetheart
to children whose names I don’t even know
and driving too fast and not being Buddhist
enough to let insects live in my house
or those cute little toylike mice
whose soft grey bodies in sticky traps
I carry, lifeless, out to the trash
and that I sometimes prefer the company of a book
to a human being, and humming
and living inside my head
and how as a girl I trailed a slow-hipped aunt
at twilight across the lawn
and learned to catch fireflies in my hands,
to smear their sticky, still-pulsing flickering
onto my fingers and earlobes like jewels.

– Cecilia Woloch


I love the conversational tone of this poem, the way it starts off on this confessional note, managing to sustain your interest through the wryness and the fact that you can relate to it, building to the final image of fireflies still-pulsing flickering.

I first came across this poem on The Writer’s Almanac, an NPR show. You can hear it being read out on the show here.

Here’s a link to her blog, with her real bio and her anti-bio – personally, I like the second better.

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