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Poem For Adlai Stevenson And Yellow Jackets Analysis

Author: Poetry of David Young Type: Poetry Views: 178

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At the White Window2000It's summer, 1956, in Maine, a camp resort

on Belgrade Lakes, and I am cleaning fish,

part of my job, along with luggage, firewood,

Sunday ice cream, waking everyone

by jogging around the island every morning

swinging a rattle I hold in front of me

to break the nightly spider threads.

Adlai Stevenson is being nominated,

but won't, again, beat Eisenhower,

sad fact I'm half aware of, steeped as I am

in Russian novels, bathing in the tea-

brown lake, startling a deer and chasing it by canoe

as it swims from the island to the mainland.

I'm good at cleaning fish: lake trout,

those beautiful deep swimmers, brown trout,

I can fillet them and take them to the cook

and the grateful fisherman may send a piece

back from his table to mine, a salute.

I clean in a swarm of yellow jackets,

sure they won't sting me, so they don't,

though they can't resist the fish, the slime,

the guts that drop into the bucket, they're mad

for meat, fresh death, they swarm around

whenever I work at this outdoor sink

with somebody's loving catch.

Later this summer we'll find their nest

and burn it one night with a blowtorch

applied to the entrance, the paper hotel

glowing with fire and smoke like a lantern,

full of the death-bees, hornets, whatever they are,

that drop like little coals

and an oily smoke that rolls through the trees

into the night of the last American summer

next to this one, 36 years away, to show me

time is a pomegranate, many-chambered,

nothing like what I thought.


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