"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.


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.