Sally Bliumis-Dunn


With their lapis lazuli wings, these wasps,
like a detail from an expressionist canvas

that has come alive and freed itself.
They mate on our picnic table,

balancing on their legs,
thin as human hair. Their abdomens

touch and swirl, a full 
five minutes, the two of them swaying.

I envy those pheromones, the invisible
cloud that holds them. The air is somehow

thinner, paler in my own room. I wish
I could be painted small enough to step inside

the female’s yellow-dabbed belly, and breathe in
that wet-sexed air all around me.

— National Poetry Month Selection —

At Sixty

  Humans are the only primates that don’t die 
within a few years of menopause. — LiveScience

No wonder I sometimes feel 
crazed in the bathroom’s white-tiled cage

with all the neatly packaged
potions, salves, brews of kelp,

the damning evidence, bountiful
on the vanity, the magnifying mirror 

by the sink where the peach of my face
looks overripe to all the ghosts of apes 

and lemurs crowding inside me,
scavenging me.

Sally Bliumis-Dunn teaches is Associate Editor-at-Large and features writer for PLUME. Her poems have appeared in 32 Poems, New Ohio Review, The Paris Review, PLUME, Poetry London,  Prairie Schooner, the NYT, PBS NewsHour, upstreet, The Writer’s Almanac, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-day, and Ted Kooser’s  column, among others. In 2002, she was a finalist for the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize. Her third full-length collection, Echolocation, was published by Plume Editions/Madhat Press in March, 2018 and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award as well as the Julie Suk Award.