March 16, 2009

Marvin Bell


Am I to save the spider in the bathtub,
who lives in the drain
and can scramble up porcelain as if
its feet are suction, or shall I
be done with it,
as I have been done with ants and snails,
with armed yellowjackets
and the mice and the bats? You
tell me, who among us is not
taking steps that preclude the moral
disquisitions of a study group?
And the honeybees are gone this spring,
who lived next door for the last years
of their keeper’s health. He also
tended the graves of the war dead
at the Fort, and he kept, in an old car,
kindling piled to the roof. After
the operation, he could walk on a walker
but not chop wood. A Navy man,
he would have gone to sea
again, had they called,
leaving the civilian buzz of disquiet
without a thought.

from Rattle 29, Summer 2008

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