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Stephen Dobyns: Fly

What’s that noise? a man asks his wife.
She walks to the window. The sound of feet,
thousands of boots marching in unison.
I can see nothing, the woman tells him.
The man joins her. Nothing, he repeats.
And the smell—think of the smell of one
unwashed body, one unwashed uniform
and increase it a thousand fold. The man 
closes the windows, but still the smell 
sticks to their skin, clings to every part
of their house. What is it? the man repeats. 
Their voices are no more than a whisper.
They can hide. What’s the point of hiding?
They can run. Why bother running?
They feel defeated by the world’s terrors.
They can turn up their radio and dance.
They can play cards; they can drink gin.
They can make love or fight one another.
They will hear it even still. A fly crawls
across the window. The man squashes it
with his thumb. Like them, like them. 

“Fly” from The Day’s Last Light Reddens the Leaves of the Copper Beech, copyright 2016 by Stephen Dobyns, BOA Editions, Ltd.

4 comments on “Stephen Dobyns: Fly

  1. notumbo248
    June 3, 2020

    This. Right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah Gordon
    June 3, 2020

    Terrific poem. Timely. Important.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    June 2, 2020

    From 2016 and so timely. I keep seeing new comparisons with our current circumstances and realize that is what makes a timeless poem. Thank you to Michael Simms and Stephen Dobyns.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. loranneke
    June 2, 2020

    That is such a Stephen Dobyns poem. Even if his name had not appeared on the page I would have known it was him! And those 4 last words…

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on June 2, 2020 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , , , .

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