A dissonant fall begins
after an atonal summer
when I accomplished nothing
There were no melodies
humming from the woodshop;
no Christmas boxes or cutting boards
whizzing from the saws
and scraping top speed through the planers.
The vibration of wood only came from thunderclap
and then pinging of rain on plastic tarps.
I could not make the mower awaken,
so the neighbor nipped the front yard
to keep up appearances:
our money so tight that pennies
were a luxury jangling into the change jar.
All the while some wasps were building
their gray paper bells
that ring the eaves,
humming their unknown tunes
for just the necessity of offspring
and survival through the coming sting
of a long winter.
Am I to be the figure
of the fighting swallows
who battle them for space
in the early summer?
Is my heart ready to cut these colorless balloons
of future life down for the snow to soak away
the next generation of new fears
of needle sharp pains on shoulder or arm?
What would the monks do at their lofty altitudes
who kill nothing in defense of every spirit,
and should I kill a wasp
whose spirit am I snuffing?
Oh, I think I know:
non-believers and conservatives
who passed to the next life
in their speeding Cadillacs on straight roads
or peacefully in gilded beds,
thinking they had nothing to fear
from the next world
when they woke up
to a thousand eyed mother
pouring a colorless world around the siblings
from an unfamiliar mouth no kiss could touch.
Yes, I will pull them down before the worst freeze
and make them find another soul
away from me and mine:
this home for liberal wasps.
(mp3 file of Barry G. Wick reading this poem)
Copyright © 2010 by Barry G. Wick