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ode to a damselfly on a cool summer morning


Image by Radek Jedynak

flitting between the false strawberries

& the tall grass by the creek, i see it:

iridescent body, striking black wings,

not animal enough to fear my approach,

my bending to take a picture, the striking colors stunning

in a different way on my screen than they are in person


the puppy is leashed, trapped in a small radius

& eventually she notices my noticing, runs

to follow my lead & begins a happy chase,

tracking the dark-winged insect

with a carefree leap, so different from her manic dash

whenever she spies some unsuspecting bird


i look it up later & find it is called an ebony jewelwing,

Calopteryx maculata, a species of broad-winged damselfly

—i was right to think it not a dragonfly—

& marvel at the names we give beautiful things,

the ways they both succeed & fail

to illustrate what they name


the jewels are on its body—look it up,

or better yet, go down to some shady spot

near a slow-moving creek & take a companion

as curious about the world as you long to be


there is something quiet waiting there

Genevieve Hartman is a Korean American poet and reviewer based in upstate New York. She is the Social Media & Outreach Coordinator at Adi Magazine and an Art Editor for Gasher Journal. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, EcoTheo, River Mouth Review, Stone Canoe, and others. Follow her on Instagram at @gena_hartman, on Twitter at @gena_hartman1, or find her at

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