Scattering the March

By D. Nurkse D. Nurkse
I was not beaten
but the boy beside me was.   
He broke stride, stumbled,   
the sticks circled over him,   
corralling him into their world.   
I met his eyes and lip-read   
“run,” a whisper
engulfed in sirens.
       I slowed down
in an unknown neighborhood,   
a street of watch repairers,   
tinsmiths, tailors sitting   
cross-legged in dim windows   
staring at lacquered Singers   
like men whose eyes
are lost in a fire,
and I ducked past them   
glancing sideways
in deep pity because I’d been   
a step away from freedom.

D. Nurkse, “Scattering the March” from The Rules of Paradise (New York: Four Way Books, 2001). Used by permission of Four Way Books.

Source: The Rules of Paradise (Four Way Books, 2001)

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Poet D. Nurkse

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects History & Politics, Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries

 D.  Nurkse


D. Nurkse is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including The Rules of Paradise (2001), The Fall (2003), and The Border Kingdom (2008). His parents escaped Nazi Europe during World War II—his Estonian father worked for the League of Nations in Vienna, his mother was an artist—and moved to New York. Nurkse’s family moved back to live in Europe for a number of years, returning to the United States around the time of the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT History & Politics, Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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