In Michael Deragon's poem "A Note", who are the speaker, audience, and what's the rhetorical situation?

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This is an interesting modern poem which is very much open to interpretation. The nature of the speaker and the audience are both fairly straightforward—the speaker does not identify himself as such, but he is presumably the lover of the person the poem addresses ("you," "your"). The speaker describes his love for this person as "a rocket."

The beloved in the poem is also the poem's audience —the poem's point of view suggests that it is addressed to this person alone, given the use of the second-person perspective (although of course, it has found another audience in us, the readers). We can assume that the beloved is an older person—presumably, members of an older couple are the subjects of the poem. Phrases such as "your rickety old heart" and the description of the beloved's hand as "spiny" suggest that the beloved is dying; while the cause of death is unclear, I think "this wounded red room" is metaphorical. Rather than there being physical wounds present, the room has been metaphorically "wounded" by what has been happening in it: this person's slow death.

The rhetorical situation in the poem, then, seems to be the beloved's last moments. The speaker is unable to speak, his throat being "dead stuffed" by the truth of what is happening. Still, he throws himself onto his beloved in order to hear the person's heart; he wants to forget that the pair has "already found the end of us" by reminding his beloved that they are "my love," as if there were still time left for them.

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