Poem-a-Day Collection (6)

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Poem-a-Day Collection
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COPYRIGHT
Poem-a-Day Collection by Knopf. Compilation copyright 2009 by Knopf.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.


Exile's Child

by Dr. Nurkse

I asked my father
permission to kill a fly.
I came back and asked
—could I kill another?
He thought for a while
and said—No. Evening was taking
the sting off a family outing.
Along the beach, cousins
were charring meat. The waves
were turning an intense No-color.
I asked, was he in combat
in the old country? He said—No.
Then I was enraged at him,
feeling he was asleep, like the sand,
like the striped umbrella whose shadow
fell at right angles to night,
like my serious brother toting sums
in a leather-bound ledger. The flies alone
were awake, and their drone,
fainter than surf, was audible
only when I knelt and held my breath
stock-still by the banked coals.

--

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Excerpt from THE BORDER KINGDOM. Copyright © 2009 by D. Nurkse. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.




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