Weekly Poem: ‘Apology’

BY Arts Desk  February 9, 2009 at 10:48 AM EDT

'Granted' by Mary SzybistBy Mary Szybist

I didn’t mean to say so much to you.
I should have thought to let the evening end
by looking at the stars subdued

into their antique blue and alabaster hues.
Such looking would have fit with my intent.
I didn’t mean to speak that way to you.

If I could take it back, I’d take it, undo
it, and replace it with the things I meant
to give—not what I let slip (it’s true)

like any pristine star of ornamental hue.
I do not always do what I intend.
I didn’t mean to say so much to you.

It slipped before I saw, before I knew.
Or do we always do what we intend?
Perhaps it’s true and all along I knew

what I was saying—but how I wanted you.
I should have thought to let the evening end.
The placid stars seemed filled and then subdued
by what I did and did not want to do.

Mary Szybist is the author of “Granted” (Alice James Books, 2003), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She was born in Williamsport, Pa., and graduated from the University of Virginia and the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. The recipient of numerous awards, she is an Assistant Professor of English at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. In February, Poet Laureate Kay Ryan chose Szybist and Christina Davis for the 2009 Witter Bynner Fellowships, and will introduce the poets on Feb. 26 at the Library of Congress, where they also will give a reading.