Two Poems | Maya C. Popa | Granta

Two Poems

Maya C. Popa

All That Is Made

The trees were on the verge of rebirth so sudden
you’d miss it from one day to the next,

would be suddenly alive in it, the pale green bending open
to reveal what we’d always suspected was the case:

that every bright thing has at its heart a hiddenness
it offers when you’ve just about stopped looking.

In her thirtieth year, Julian was dying. No other way
to describe the proceeding of events, the widening gap

between two kinds of life: the one lived and the one
remembered. And Christ came to where she lay

fevered and helpless, sat by her bedside in velvet robes,
and opened his palm to show her a hazelnut

saying this is all that is made. I wouldn’t know mercy
unless it looked like this, and I’d mistake it for love,

though that, too, is what it is. I understand
if you’re not prepared to believe in miracles,

the hours passed from one invisible hand to the next,
but Julian lived to seventy-three in the fourteenth century.

Maybe life’s little more than our own blindness easing;
look, he said, keep looking. How small and round our suffering.





Insect Exhibit

The recluse spider I spotted
in a spigot, the black widow
folded in a divan.

To measure days in venom
roving vein, by a steady
unspooling of the self—
what metaphor, and how
other these hinged
collapsible magnificences
fussing in slow motion,
in green time.

Such marvels, and how
to deliver them to you
since nothing I do
will ever match
this honeypot ant
dragging the body of one
it might have loved
to make a meal
under a never-setting sun.


Image © Avinash Kumar

Maya C. Popa

Maya C. Popa is the author of Wound is the Origin of Wonder (forthcoming from Picador in June 2023) and American Faith, winner of the 2020 North American Book Prize. Her pamphlet, Dear Life, was the winner of the 2021 PBS pamphlet competition. She holds a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London, on the role of wonder in poetry. She is the Poetry Reviews Editor of Publishers Weekly and teaches at NYU and elsewhere.

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