Summer of '65

We still had the Rambler wagon--
gunmetal blue, with last year's snows--
still a few good miles left
in them look you know we look
I'm sick and look the matter is end of I said end
of I

over washboard,
railway cinders, creosote and polished, pitted steel, prow down, dust
a contrail, dust, persistent, never settled,
slate grey, me, there
in the back seat, vinyl, bitter, with the babies and the books,
denting the roof with my stupid head
now look what look
at me young look you
think you're so
back of my

there, roadside, a truck
is filling up with old
transformer oil, fan sprays dripping, to keep
the dust down. We always drove
behind an oil truck when we saw
one. Kept
the road dust off
the gunmetal Rambler, kept
the snow tires matte Shawinigan black. Beside

the culvert, kids
were sprawling on banana seats, waiting
for the fogger. I remember
we would shadow the mosquito fogger,
riding, riding empty outskirts, riding
into sweetbitter
fog, disappearing
for a moment, disappearing for

winters, winters
we grabbed hold of chromium bumpers, school
and city buses crouching, clinging, cutting our fingers, snow
and salt
streaming from our boots, contrails

JDP 98/04


Gravel roads were sprayed with used transformer oil
in Canada until the seventies, when it was realized that
polychlorinatedbiphenyls, PCBs, though outstanding dielectric fluids
with excellent heat transfer properties, were persistent environmental pollutants.

To control mosquitoes and other pests, it was routine to fog whole
residential neighbourhoods in the early summer months with
1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane, DDT, until
Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" was digested by a
worried public in the latter half of the sixties.

Copyright John D Porter © 1998

[List of Poems]