"Petrified Light"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
April 12 2005 11:04 AM

"Petrified Light"

Listen to Teresa Cader reading this poem.

I studied the tiny insect trapped in amber at the Museum of Science.
Seventy-million-year-old pine resin from the once tropical Baltics,
Petrified into a sarcophagus of honey light. There you are, I said.
To the bug, my alter ego. To the amber, my weight of captivity
And stasis. No one heard me mouthing off to the exhibit case.
My daughter watched a series of balls bong their obstacle course,
Plinging bells and tilting pulleys. My husband studied the underbelly
Of a fake lightning bug in the next exhibit. Amazing,
He complimented the frog whose belly glowed with glow worms,
And the syncopated sex rhythms of tropical lightning bugs who flash
In unison. So much cellular insight for a Sunday afternoon. Awe
Was the thing I didn't have: hard floors and sore instep, maybe. Awe
Is what the exhibits design for. The three foot Black Widow caught my
Peripheral. Whoa, I said to my ordinary. To my stubborn. To fear's
Onion smell welling up in my armpits. What we have here is a body
Created for me. A creature of wild and deadly desire. Bad.

Teresa Cader is the author of Guests, The Paper Wasp, and History of Hurricanes (2009). She teaches poetry in the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University.