A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
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.