Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

4/29/08

Negotiating With Mosquitos, a poem about the end of détente

mosquitoWelcome to spring. Spring brings rain water sitting in unturned pots, old tires, hidden ponds -- all creating breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Negotiating With Mosquitos
by Anthony Trendl

Springtime in Illinois, land of corn,
land of woods, land built on swamps. I spoke
to a morning mosquito minding the screen at my bedroom window.
We discussed the news, the way the warmer winter of this last year would bring him
much bounty, an abundant crop of young in tender sloughs near my home.
We talked about how hard it was, being a mosquito,
with all the fish nibbling at larva waiting for wings. I understood, I said. I have children too.
It was hard talking, as our languages were different,
and the traffic news mumbled quickly in the other room.
I asked him not to bite me, not me. I am his neighbor. I pass ponds of milkweed and
He flew from corner to corner of the screen, while a breeze pushed him around.
After a few minutes, after the radio finished traffic and went into weather, he flew off.
I would not kill, and he would not bite. He told me he would not bother me again.

Springtime in Illinois, west of Chicago,
where the suburbs meet auburn sunsets, and corn grows better than grass I saw
my neighbor and he felt welcome to the colors and smells of dinner cooking on my grill.
He brought friends and relatives, and I laughed, knowing his progeny would be large.
His voice was different, harsher. No, it was no mosquito I knew, but his voice was familiar.
We talked about his father, the insect I met the month before. Was March so long gone
that the next generation was born? His father now was hid up, buzzing in a gutter, waiting for new rain,  watching out for bats. I told him the promise his father made, and so it was known,
this father’s son might follow to keep his word. His father’s son, indeed, kept the pact,
all the while buzzing with urgent wing batting for a few minutes, pulling my attention away from the cool  swarm of tiny wings around my ankles. I noticed, and made a swift change in our détente.
My hand, quicker than light, ended all treaties. I told him he would not bother me again.
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