Etymology, A Love Story

Anthony Lawrence


I became aware of a future love affair
with insects when I saw, on the lapel
of a woman’s coat, a pair of blue
and green beetles I’d mistaken for
antique enamel brooches. And while
I was young and under the cloud
cover of over-protective parents,
I could still recognise beauty when
it came to rest in front of me. Before
the woman turned and moved on,
the beetles climbed from the dark
weave of her winter coat to her hair,
where they opened the secret
compartments inside their backs
like ox-blood panels, then set
the miniature hydraulics beneath
their wings in motion. It seemed
a departure remembered as much
for its transparency as the signature
ignition of faith in the nature
of desire I’d been cultivating each
night, at home, when alone, in
the dark, opening my own skin
with a pair of surgical scissors
and trying to install the miniature
paper fan my grandmother used
in church or the kitchen, her eyes
closed, her cameo gleaming like
a portal to her heart each time
she wept or struggled to breathe.



Anthony Lawrence has published fifteen books of poems, the most recent being 101 Poems, (Pitt Street Poetry 2018). His poems have appeared previously in Poetry (Chicago), River City, Green Mountains Review and Australian Book Review. He is a Senior lecturer at Griffith University, Queensland, and lives on Moreton Bay.