Vox Populi

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Gary Fincke: Anniversary

If half of happiness is genetics,

What consolation there is in knowing

That some bees, now, prefer sex with orchids 

That have evolved to irresistible.

Because bitterness ascends each evening 

Like the moon.  Because the leaves of house plants 

Are dusted with fear as we tend to them.

Because we believed, once, that they adored

Our songs, that they and our unborn children

Were happier hearing those melodies.

Now my student, nineteen, says she’s been raped;

Yours, eleven, is pregnant, yet we live 

In an envied place.  Now epidemics 

Of hive death have struck, local beekeepers 

Repeating pollution and pesticides,  

Proliferation of cell phone towers.

A white whale, nonfiction, has been sighted,

White rain has fallen on New Mexico.

In the museum we visited today,

A history of our sick presidents,

Their doctors and their treatments—pneumonia, 

Ileitis, cancer, stroke.  And what’s more–

Bright’s and Addison’s Disease, depressions,

Their recoveries, deaths, and even so,

We were in Philadelphia, minutes 

From the Liberty Bell and the tourists

Who travel here because we’ve muddled through

The way our early presidents came back 

From bleeding a pint or more for fevers.

At last, when we looked at a killer’s skull, 

When we examined his brain in fluid, 

I told you about the Nazi doctors

Who searched the brains of four hundred children

They had murdered to discover their dreams, 

And you said “impossible” like a child.

Listen, butterflies and moths remember 

Their lives as caterpillars, the hunger 

And the constant dream of flight.  Honeybees

Can recognize a face.  Margaret Bell

Owned bees that flew five miles to mourn her death,

Gathering near her house for an hour.

If, as scientists tell us, most women  

Are happier than men until they turn 

Sadder at forty-eight, then here, writing now

Past sixty, I must believe my darkness 

Is nothing like the midnight you suffer.

Someone, now, has made the blackest substance 

Ever known, worse than the blind-dark of caves

The world’s dirt is disappearing faster 

Than ever before.  “Gary, just you wait,” 

My mother promised me ten thousand times, 

And I did until this moment, saying 

That I’ve woken, love, to some happiness

All forty years in this bed beside you.

Copyright 2023 Gary Fincke

Gary Fincke has won numerous awards for his writing, including the Bess Hokin 
Prize from Poetry Magazine. He lives in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. 

Scientific American

5 comments on “Gary Fincke: Anniversary

  1. Gerald Fleming
    February 17, 2023

    Gary Finke, spectacular poem.


  2. Loranneke
    February 16, 2023

    How this poem travels ad never forgets the reader. And those 3 last lines! Ohhh…


    • Vox Populi
      February 16, 2023

      I love Gary’s poems. Such rich complexity and yet the poems remain clear in meaning.



  3. Rose Mary Boehm
    February 16, 2023



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This entry was posted on February 16, 2023 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry and tagged , , , .

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