Down on Comegys Road, two miles
from the Rifle Club that meets Wednesdays,
summer to fall, firing into a blackness
they call night but I know is a body,
in unpaved Kennedyville, not far
from the Bight, on five acres of green
organic farm, next to the algaed pond
that yields the best fishing in all of Kent County
(my neighbor says it is a lingering death I deal
the trout when he sees me throw the small
bodies back), down where the commonest
cars are tractors and hayfetchers, and men
wave as they pass, briefly bowing a gentleman's
straw hat, you can find the wood cabin
where I live, infested with stink bugs.
Every day, my boyfriend asks the murder count,
making light of my hatred. Even reading I sit,
swatter poised on the couch's arm,
all the windows closed, fans off, the whole house
listening for the thwat of stink alighting
smartly on sun-warmed glass, their soft-backed
geometric carapaces calling to be stopped.
I did not grow up like this, here
on Maryland's Eastern Shore, but I am most
at home now I live with something inside to kill.
About this poem
"I regained this year my South, a place I've fled, a place I charge and change by living in it. When I moved to Kent County, people-neighbors, colleagues, the postmaster-thought I should know here was the last place in the United States to desegregate its public schools. It seemed a place good as any to learn the ugly interior of ourselves."
-James Allen Hall
About James Allen Hall
James Allen Hall is the author of "Now You're the Enemy" (University of Arkansas Press, 2008). He teaches at Washington College and lives in Kennedyville, Md.
The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience.
(c) 2014 James Allen Hall. Originally published by the Academy of American Poets, www.poets.org. Distributed by King Features Syndicate