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