Published on Academy of American Poets (

Emily Said

Emily said she heard a fly buzz
when she died, heard it whizz
over her head, troubling her frizzed
hair. What will I hear? Showbiz
tunes on the radio, the megahertz
fuzz when the station picks up Yaz,
not the Hall-of-Famer or the Pez
of contraceptives, but the jazzy
flash-in-the-pan '80's techno-pop star, peach fuzz
on her rouged cheeks singing Pal-ease
Don't Go
through a kazoo. Will my old love spritz
the air with the perfume of old roses,
buy me the white satin Mercedes-Benz
of pillows, string a rainbow blitz
of crystals in the window—quartz, topaz—
or will I die wheezing, listening to a quiz
show: What year is this? Who was the 44th Prez
of the United States? Where is the Suez
Canal? Are you too hot? Cold? Freezing?


From The Book of Men (Norton, 2011). Copyright © 2011 by Dorianne Laux. Used by permission of the poet.


Dorianne Laux

The author of several collections of poetry, Dorianne Laux was the recipient of the Oregon Book Award and a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award for her book Facts About the Moon. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020.

Date Published: 2011-02-01

Source URL: