Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

luam & the flies

Aracelis Girmay

umbertide, asmera, new york, october, 2013

It was the end of the world.
The world was ending. I sat

in my house with the flies. Though
the night was dense, was long, we

tried to wait for light, to last.
But the wind at the doors. &

darkness knuckled, flashed its teeth.
Outside, the other houses,

outside, the solitary
field, tall singularity

of the mama tree. What was
strong was razed, what was alone.

I thought we would, plural, survive.
But I saw the deaths of flies.

I watched them clean their wings &
faces, then die in the night,

watching quietly out &,
looking, facing it. Morning

I saw them at the windows
as though remembering the

green, last world. Their legs curled in
the syllable of struggle,

or sleep. I counted six awes
who died in the night, whose sounds

died in degrees. Trying to learn,
I picked them gently up by

their wings & studied, then placed
the six onto one, white plate:

six corpses or comas, six
I tried to see but took to

the window & poured them out
for the dirt & rosemary.

            If I were moored to place, if
I had believed that this would

always be my home, if I
were to be lucky. One day

their descendants would be mine,
would handle my death, too, with

their small legs, yellow mouths &
wound-hungers. Powerless to

brush them from my teeth & eyes,
I’d be bright finally with

their taking, a city of
eggs, a harvest, an “&”; the

emerald signage of bodies.
I would be a kind of port

or harbor—Finally, them