Mary Szybist

Notes on a 39-Year-Old Body
October 12, 2011 Szybist Mary

Notes on a 39-year-old Body


Most internal organs jiggle and glow and are rosy

pink.  The ovary is dull and gray. . . It is scarred

and pitted, for each cycle of ovulation leaves behind

a white blemish where

an egg follicle has been emptied of its contents.

The older the woman, the more

scarred her pair of ovaries will be. . . .

Natalie Angier, Woman: An Intimate


She was always planning out her own development,

desiring her own perfection, observing

her own progress.

Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady


                        in  the         dull     




                         [o]f   desiring





                        [d]ress[ed] in


                [my]  own    white    









                  [I]  always plann[ed]              [to] be      

















                or   is       [s]low               



                        [to] empt[y]






                internal            ros[es]       glow        


                                      pink   and


                        red          here 


                                 an[d]                the[re]







                        in [s]low  






Mary Szybist is the author of Granted (Alice James Books), a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Award in Poetry. Her  second collection, Incarnadine, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2013.  Her work appears in Poetry, Kenyon Review, Iowa Review, Tin House, and many other journals and reviews. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches at Lewis & Clark College.