Poem: Swans and Mosquitoes | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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Poem: Swans and Mosquitoes


Watching mosquitoes, we sat in sweat, our thighs fused to the vinyl
seats of a Chevy pick up, waiting for Mama, seeing her through
the restaurant window as she bussed tables, her two youngest of six
babysitting themselves in the truck while she worked the day shift.

Our bare toes, brown, stuck to each other as fresh black mosquitoes
performed a Swan Lake on the dashboard, the winged invertebrates
becoming the winged swans in my mind, trapped in these bodies,
trapped in the sweat of the day, trapped by the windows
and doors, how daylight traps us, these shells that are not bones,

and it is the ladies who drink the blood, my mother said, who lay
their eggs in a lake or puddle, the eggs growing into larva, and then adults,
and living only ten weeks, but it is enough, I imagine, if you live it
like Odette, if you find love. The exoskeleton softens, the jointed legs dance.
Deep in the thorax, the call is born, and as afternoon swells into evening,
lines form like a flock in a salt-marsh lair.

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