by Sherman Alexie
Stanza 5 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
As my wife fed my son in the hungry dark.
How can a father resent his son and his son's love?
Was my comfort more important than the stars?
- The speaker's wife breastfeeds their son in the "hungry" dark.
- Why does the speaker refer to the dark as "hungry"? We know it's a tricky bit of poetic personification, giving a color like "dark" human traits like "hungry", but we're not sure why.
- It does seem like he's created a cool parallel between the night sky and the room in which he's standing, though. Or, it's as if the dark is as hungry as his son. Which is to say—starving.
- In line 14, the speaker asks a rhetorical question, which is a fancy way of saying he's asking a question for some other reason than to get a response.
- Of course, none of us can answer him, we're just reading! But rhetorical questions give us the sense that the speaker is asking himself the question, or is still baffled by something he doesn't understand.
- Line 15 is another rhetorical question. He's talking to himself here, trying to figure something out.
- So far, we know his son's comfort is more important than the stars. His wife is more important than the stars.
- Basically, he's asking, what about me? How do I fit in here? He also seems to be doubting himself and beginning to feel a bit guilty for being a bad husband and father.