by Rita Dove
Where It All Goes Down
We're in one country for this poem, but in two separate locales. In the first part of the poem, we're out in Trujillo's sugarcane fields in the Dominican Republic, with his Haitian workers. In the second half, we're still in the Dominican Republic, but we've moved indoors, to Trujillo's palace, where he keeps his parrot in his dead mother's room.
One of the cool things about lyric poetry with narrative leanings is that the setting can be very clear. In "Parsley" – a poem derived from an actual historical event – there are concrete places to which the events in the poem correspond. This makes it easy on us, as readers, to picture things, and it's good for the poet, too, since there are real-life images and historical places from which she can pull images.