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18 the minnesota review Jay Ladin Current Events The fly which yesterday stepped so delicately among the potholes of my sandwich, rolling and unrolling its proboscis in a tiny six-legged joy, this morning is struggling in a translucent sac, its hundred eyes fogged and sticky, a drop of poison loosening its wings. Forget it. And forget also the cancerous old president in his hospital bed who has just finished breakfast and is waiting for the Jamaican nurse to take his pulse. And don't watch the spider walking with dignity and great care along its web like my grandfather, who paces to the window of his nursing home room and scowls at the black man ten blocks away selling hotdogs on the same spot he used to push knishes; the ocean was dirty then and it's filthy now he thinks, old and grey and full of salt— The president enjoys his bed and the warm sunshine, a lot better than a park bench he jokes, smiling at the sweating nurse to show how good he feels. And the spider steps relentlessly toward breakfast while I make my lunch, arranging salami on rich brown slices that the fly dreams it is touching lightly with its proboscis, a hundred horizons made of bread—Don't look. The president is terrified; his terror gives him stature; he grows in proportion to what he conceals, and to hide his impending death he has become as enormous as he has always seemed to the spider pausing above the dark plump shape. The web is torn in two places. The spider stares at the loose silk strands; drops moisten its spinarets as it imagines a new web, five, no, six circles wide, there in the corner, perfect. The spider rocks between two hungers: hunger to eat, hunger to make, hunger to eat, hunger to—Leave me alone Ladin 19 my grandfather screams, and because you have to be firm with them the orderly grabs his brittle arm, bruising it as I spread ketchup with a knife. What is it to me if the spider feeds, the president yawns, my grandfather, biting his lip, lets the orderly roll up his sleeve? I wrap my sandwiches in clear plastic. The smell of garlic and cold meat clings to my fingers. It reminds me—Don't remember— of walking home hungry after school, fighting the fierce fall wind that whipped the leaves in circles, trying to take over the world— Garlic and cold meat. The fly dreaming. The rattle of loose windows, the clack-clatter-clack of steel wheels, the whistle; the unbridled groans that seem to come from straining metal as Jewish men rape Jewish women on the train to Auschwitz. ...


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