Thursday, August 27, 2009

Poem for Thursday

By Melissa Kwasny

Soft as the deaf, as tightly
budded, even my name hides
under the tongue,
burrows into me like an infection.

Mallow. Cob. I am host
with a hundred ears. What is here
feeds, golden and small,
unable to fly away from me.

Still here in the stair-step fall
of light, I am infiltrated
with aphids and ants
that stick to the glue of my veins.

No one accepts what life offers.
Too common to thrive
by the roadside, soft as the roadside
dust that covers me, and thus,

get the poison meant for others—
the noxious, the invasive,
meaning your fear of cancer.
To thrive, you say, is monstrous.

Who can blame me that I prefer
poor soil, that I ask
for rolled oats without milk
in this land in love with plenty?

How long can you stay angry?
I rise out of the green
and obscure, a flamboyant stalk,
muscled, a landmark in the field.

Look around you. You will see
the brown shells of my last resistance.
Immune to what?
I am soft as exhaustion, soft as ash.


We got up early for breakfast so that we could spend time on the beach before we needed to check out of our hotel. It was a beautiful morning -- bright but not too hot, water nearly as warm as the air, with lots of little fish in the ocean, and seagulls, sandpipers, pelicans, and a ruddy turnstone on the sand and flying overhead -- waves moderate-sized, tide about halfway in. We swam a bit and collected some whelks and snail shells before we headed back to the hotel to pack up and drive out of Kill Devil Hills. North Carolina students went back to school on Monday, so tourist season is pretty much over, and we encountered very little traffic driving toward Norfolk.

We stopped for lunch at Yorktown Battlefield, which is actually not in the same area as the Yorktown Victory Center; the latter is part of the Historic Triangle under the administration of the state of Virginia, including Colonial Williamsburg and the Jamestown settlement, while the battlefield is part of the National Park Service. We had sandwiches at the picnic tables in front of the visitor center, walked around the earthworks and cannons nearest the visitor center, then drove the nine mile circuit past the siege lines, earthworks, and onetime encampment sites for Washington, Lafayette, Rochambeau, and their soldiers. We saw deer, a groundhog, turtles, lizards, and vultures in the park.

Paul and the kids by "Le Renard," or "The Fox," a French six-pounder cannon.

Many guns remain on display on Yorktown Battlefield and in the museum.

Here are the kids with one of them.

The park has shored up and recreated many of the earthworks from the battle...

...and the tall trees make the park very beautiful.

Plus the park is on the York River, where sailboats can be seen behind the battlefield.

These turtles live in Wormley Pond in the park.

Cornwallis' soldiers walked along this road to the field on the left to lay down their arms in the formal surrender of the British.

We avoided DC rush hour by getting off I-95 for a quick dinner at a Popeye's near Dale City, then got home before 8 to unpack, do laundry, console neglected cats, etc. At Daniel's request we watched the last episode of the second season of Due South, which made me sad because it's the last episode of the second season -- and blah, a flashback episode, guess they were short on money -- but made up for everything with the dialogue ("Ah, Fraser, I could kiss you." "But I thought we were just friends, Ray.").

I'm glad Teddy Kennedy's life is getting a fraction of the attention paid to Michael Jackson's, though I also feel a bit distanced by every single politician and public official seeking publicity by giving a television interview -- not sure I believe all these tearful tributes -- I just wish the senator was going to be around to fight for health care reform the way he fought for civil rights and equal treatment of women.

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