D. Nurkse’s personal and cultural vision of the relation between fathers and sons informs his latest volume, The Border Kingdom, which also includes some significant additions to the growing canon of post-9/11 poems by American poets.
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.
Meet D. Nurske in Washington, DC and Bronxville NY.
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