Gabriel Fried

POETRY-April 2012
Poem by Gabriel Fried
Edited by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc
Artwork by Hannah Rosengren


Melt, 2012, watercolor and ink on paper, 5.5″ x 4″

“Colony Collapse Disorder”

Along Route 1, the youth of Maine have cocked

their heads to hear the swarm of spring approach

on trucks from California’s almond farms.

It’s April, and New England kicks about

ideas of thaw. It’s early to expect

commitment this far north, but there is mud

and gravel everywhere for now: post offices

and pantries can’t be mopped up fast enough

for what comes in on duck boots and galoshes.

And it’s the same on 7 in Vermont

and 9G in New York—or so they claim,

though no American winter is like Maine’s,

that mixture of ocean salt and hoarfrost.

The children cock their heads but nothing comes,

while across Georgia, peaches are withheld,

words forgotten on the lips of blossoms.

This will be the silent summer. No buzz

will hover vibrantly. No tractors will

exhale a galaxy of pesticide,

groaning like widowers who frequent cliffs

above the quarry or bars on Smith Street.

The silence makes a sting most hearts were forced

to borrow from the old legends: those of

unincorporated orchards, sandlots,

and ghost-towns. Once school is out, the children

will sweat sweetly in the luscious, fruitless

fields they comb through, glistening like a city

of decent posture and useful mischief.

Theirs will be a different, better sting,

an ache for what is present, not what’s past;

for what is racing ’round us, sticking close,

humming like a hidden bell of home.




Maine magazine works in conjunction with students at the Maine College of Art. Illustration major Hannah Rosengren says of “Colony Collapse Disorder”: “I interpreted this poem as being about transition. As a Maine native I could easily picture the muddy fields and the approach of spring.”

Gabriel Fried on “Colony Collapse Disorder”: “I’d seen a documentary on colony collapse disorder—that eerie syndrome that causes afflicted bees to lose their homing impulse. I became fascinated by its tidal-wave impact beginning in the west and making its way east. You can’t get farther east than Maine.”




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