He sits in his wheelchair
Watching the history channel
World War II flying through the air
across the screen in black and white.
I touch his shoulder. He looks up and nods.
“I brought you some herring,” I say.
He wheels closer to the screen.
I open the jar and place it nearby.
With a fork he stabs
at the tightly packed fish with his good hand.
Half of his body is dead
The other angry.
I watch as men in planes drop bombs on people trying to escape and
I look at him. Back to the battle.
Herring drops to the floor
One piece, then another (and another) of silver fish long dead
That got away
I found my mother’s kookboek on his bookshelf
Between Tora Tora Tora and a thesaurus
I bend to take care of the discarded bits
(one from his shoe)
As he continues to fish, oblivious
of a child crying on a boat, exploding
I open my mother’s kookboek
I can’t pronounce the words
but my tongue knows the taste
In black and white, soldiers carry a flag,
puncture the soil
and claim it
On page one hundred and seventy one
a dead fly.
Blue skin, iridescent
or do they have skin, like me?
I keep it there
To mark my place