Gentrification

Gentrification

by Sherman Alexie 

Let us remember the wasps

That hibernated in the walls

Of the house next door. Its walls

Bulged with twenty pounds of wasps

 

And nest, twenty pounds of black

Knots and buzzing fists. We slept

Unaware that the wasps slept

So near us. We slept in black

 

Comfort, wrapped in our cocoons,

While death’s familiars swarmed

Unto themselves, but could have swarmed

Unto us. Do not trust cocoons.

 

That’s the lesson of this poem.

Or this: Luck is beautiful.

So let us praise our beautiful

White neighbor. Let us write poems

 

For she who found that wasp nest

While remodeling the wreck.

But let us remember that wreck

Was, for five decades, the nest

 

For a black man and his father.

Both men were sick and neglected,

So they knew how to neglect.

But kind death stopped for the father

 

And cruelly left behind the son,

Whose siblings quickly sold the house

Because it was only a house.

For months, that drunk and displaced son

 

Appeared on our street like a ghost.

Distraught, he sat in his car and wept

Because nobody else had wept

Enough for his father, whose ghost

 

Took the form of ten thousand wasps.

That’s the lesson of this poem:

Grief is as dangerous and unpredictable

As a twenty-pound nest of wasps.

 

Or this: Houses are not haunted

By the dead. So let us pray

For the living. Let us pray

For the wasps and sons who haunt us.

 

Heather

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s