In the pre-dawn pastel glow
Outside the lakeside window,
The fly inside is very still.
For the half hour before the sun
Pokes its yellow head over
The brim of Superior’s horizon,
The fly does not move.
Perhaps the fly is dead, I think,
And gently touch it from below.
It does not fly away.
It takes a few steps forward,
An inch or two higher on the window —
This oratory the intruder has disturbed
In the hour of morning prayer.
Only after the sun has risen
Does it leave the window
But not before completing
Its sun-dance: turning from east
To south, to west, to north, and
Back to East again to greet the day.
The observing intruder from whose
Finger the fly did not flee reads
from The Book of Common Prayer:
“Deliver me, O Lord, from evil-doers;
Protect me from the violent,
Who desire evil in their hearts
And stir up strife all day long.”
A fly lands on the prayer book.
I swat the fly away.
- Gordon C. Stewart, the intruder, Encampment Forest, Lake Superior, MN, October 6, 2017