Mysterious Neighbors

By Connie Wanek b. 1952 Connie Wanek
Country people rise early
as their distant lights testify.
They don’t hold water in common. Each house
has a personal source, like a bank account,
a stone vault. Some share eggs,
some share expertise,
and some won’t even wave.
A walk for the mail elevates the heart rate.
Last November I saw a woman down the road
walk out to her mailbox dressed in blaze orange
cap to boot, a cautious soul.
Bullets can’t read her No Trespassing sign.
Strange to think they’re in the air
like lead bees with a fatal sting.
Our neighbor across the road sits in his kitchen
with his rifle handy and the window open.
You never know when. Once
he shot a trophy with his barrel resting on the sill.
He’s in his seventies, born here, joined the Navy,
came back. Hard work never hurt a man
until suddenly he was another broken tool.
His silhouette against the dawn
droops as though drought-stricken, each step
deliberate, down the driveway to his black mailbox,
prying it open. Checking a trap.

Poem copyright ©2010 by Connie Wanek whose most recent book of poetry is On Speaking Terms, Copper Canyon Press, 2010. Reprinted from New Ohio Review, No. 7, Spring 2010, by permission of Connie Wanek and the publisher.

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Poet Connie Wanek b. 1952

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Town & Country Life

 Connie  Wanek

Biography

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, poet Connie Wanek grew up on a farm outside Green Bay and in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She was educated at New Mexico State University. Wanek’s poetry collections include Bonfire (1997), winner of the New Voices Award from New Rivers Press, and Hartley Field (2002). Her image-driven poems often engage nature and natural order. Praising Hartley Field, poet David Orr observed, “Wanek is from Wisconsin, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Town & Country Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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