Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Killing Flies

I sit down for dinner
with my dead brother
again

This is the last dream I ever want to have

Passing the forks 
around the table, passing 
the knives

There's nothing to worry about

One thing I want to know is who's in the kitchen right now if it isn't me

It isn't me

The kitchen is full of flies, flies are doing all the work

They light on the edge
of the roasted chicken
The bone china

That's what they do

Light


*


I will look 
more and more like him
until I'm older
than he is

Then he'll look more like me

if I was 
lost

The flies need to be killed as soon as we're done eating this delicious meal they made

They serve us anything we want 
in toxic green tuxedos
and 

shit wings

My brother and I wipe our mouths
scrape our chairs back from the table
and stand up

These are the last things we'll do together:

Eat dinner

Kill flies


*

You have to lie down
next to the bodies, shining 
all in a row
like black sequins
stitching up 
the kitchen floor

It's hard to do but you have to do it

Quietly lay down 
and not sleep

We were killing them with butcher knives but moved on to spatulas to save time and energy

Sticking their eyes 
onto our earlobes and wrists
like Egyptian
jewelry

My brother and I work hard all night

He is my emergency exit

I am  
his

dinner date

Credit


Copyright © 2011 by Michael Dickman. Reprinted from Flies with the permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Author


Michael Dickman

Poet Michael Dickman's second collection of poetry, Flies, received the 2010 James Laughlin Award

Date Published: 2011-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/killing-flies