Keith Flynn

The Dragonfly
November 25, 2023 Flynn Keith

The Dragonfly

for Louise Bogan

Diamond-crusted wings flying an armored syringe
of a body, pencil-thin.
The sun strings rainbows
in your iridescent wake. As children, we believed
you fed snakes their venom,
so we shattered you
to pieces with tennis rackets. How stupid and cruel
are the kingdoms of callow youth.
Diaphanous wisp,
you are barely a breath, delicate in your acrobatic
sexual mechanics,
an obelisk of singular desire.
30,000 lenses focus your enormous eyes,
to the world and its rising aquatic hunger.
Your insect brothers are mostly invisible, and we
forget, so many of you
and so few of us, and so much
mutual distrust. But you are the fastest,
a fancy dart,
leaving even hummingbirds to sit and hover,
simmering, swimming in gravity.
In two months,
your life is a husk, having eaten your weight in
gnats and mosquitoes
every passing day. Briefly,
you skim the water, cooling, testing your reflection,
reminded in those refractions
of your ancestors,
before dinosaurs and birds, 300 million years ago,
three feet across, an ominous
shadow on the still
gaping pond, angels tense and watchful,
on their bellies,
clinging to your back
like holy winged Comanches

Keith Flynn ( is the award-winning author of eight books, including six collections of poetry: most recently Colony Collapse Disorder (Wings Press, 2013) and The Skin of Meaning (Red Hen Press, 2020), and two collections of essays, entitled The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Memory: How To Make Your Poetry Swing (Writer’s Digest Books, 2007), and  Prosperity Gospel: Portraits of the Great Recession (RedHawk Publications, 2021). From 1984-1999, he was lyricist and lead singer for the nationally acclaimed rock band, The Crystal Zoo, which produced three albums: Swimming Through Lake Eerie (1992), Pouch (1996), and the spoken-word and music compilation, Nervous Splendor (2003). His latest album is Keith Flynn & The Holy Men, LIVE at Diana Wortham Theatre (2011). He is the Executive Director and producer of the TV and radio show, “LIVE at White Rock Hall,” ( and Animal Sounds Productions, both which create collaborations between writers and musicians in video and audio formats. His award-winning poetry and essays have appeared in many journals and anthologies around the world, including The American Literary Review, The Colorado Review, Poetry Wales, Five Points, Poetry East, The Southern Poetry Anthology, The Poetics of American Song Lyrics, Writer’s Chronicle. The Cimarron Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, Word and Witness: 100 Years of NC Poetry, Crazyhorse, and many others. He has been awarded the Sandburg Prize for poetry, a 2013 NC Literary Fellowship, the ASCAP Emerging Songwriter Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award and was twice named the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for NC. Flynn is founder and managing editor of The Asheville Poetry Review, which began publishing in 1994.