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“My Aunts” is O’Rourke’s attempt to rescue her aging flamboyant aunts (how many is not clear; at least three, I think) from their mortality by representing them in such vivid, bright word imagery that they might live forever, at least in the form of this poem. It’s a breathless twenty-line sprint of exquisitely noticed (and remembered), crazy, funny details: “doing jackknives off the diving board after school”; “They used to smoke in their cars, rolling the windows down and letting their red nails hang out.” It ends in awareness of the aunts’ vitality imperiled by death: “Stop now, before the green comes to cover up your tall brown bodies.” Vitality and mortality, life and loss – these are O’Rourke’s dual themes. As in the midst of life we are in death, so, in “My Aunts,” in the presence of vitality, we feel its ephemeralness. (1)
Davison's poem is similar in that he too is drawing upon experiences and vivid details of the things from his youth. In this very short poem he marks the way things look (dirty) smelled (both bad and good, stale, sour).