Fruit flies are model organisms. Which is not to say
they are upstanding citizens, but that they can
imitate human systems, meaning: we can see
ourselves in them. And not just because
occasionally you wake to a forgotten wine glass on
the mantle pocked with a tiny black mole that dove
head first into last night’s white with no plan on how
to get out.
Drosophila Melanogaster translates to dark-bellied
dew lover. I’ve had my fair share of those, too.
If someone says, I don’t know what kind of flies are
in my kitchen, I say, if you can hear them, they
aren’t fruit flies. I’ve practiced silence while I feed,
too, and hiding. But they do shake their wings when
they call to their mates: like a long note extending
from a vibrating string to a lover’s collar.
To persuade female fruit flies to reproduce, the
male drops to his knees to kiss her genitalia. I’ve
had my fair share of those, too.
They’re perfect for studying genetics: humans
share 60% of their DNA with fruit flies. All those
diseases that soften your brain like a tomato at the
bottom of a bowl are matched in the genome of the
dark bellies that would feed on one. But they’re no
apes, or dolphins—when I crush one under my
palm, I am still surprised by the swathe of red.
I see myself so often now. Every creature a mirror. I
empty the honey traps in the backyard like an
offering, knowing you do not have to love nature.
But can’t I feel small enough, reflected in the black
compound of their eye? A mosaic of evidence to try
to catch and release. To take the time. Or to mourn.
We recognize each other without tags:
in hesitation, a far off look: there is only:
in control or out of control: when you
are out of control.
Sharpness of her long legged angles in
her collar all broken necked: how much
can I envy someone before I start to
love them / can I ever really?
I hear her throwing out the leftovers:
jealous of the trashcans: fuller. I reach
out and wrench my own arm back,
caught: a thread tangled in its bobbin:
an iron chain bound to its own loop.
Recovery: as if there is something to
find: like a beach ball pushed under:
you resurface faster the further down
you push. And yes, a spring can recoil
again and again: but not without
diminished returns: not without decay.
For the record: the numbered list: in /
out: in my pocketbook: like a severed
finger of evidence: I didn’t think anyone
would believe me without proof: no scar
left but the stutter. You can’t confirm a
memory that constantly translates itself
to the present.
From a distance I watch her hammer
away at yielding: the same dark knotted
axis we all pivot around: performing
reluctance that gently converts to habit.
Testifying for each other in the court of
forgiveness: details of each adaptation
irrelevant: the truth and nothing but:
yes, it could be me: yes, it still is.
THE MIRROR BREAKS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
It could’ve been anyone, which means no one:
reflective glass scattered, framework gaping.
Forgetting is the ultimate form of forgiveness.
When a lover apologizes, I say, forget about it.
I can care so much about a person
that I can care for myself in their presence.
That’s how this all started, me caring for myself
with my hand down my shorts.
I don’t forgive myself for past transgressions
and walk through a dense fog, remembering
each discrete guilt until another crash
obliges me to sweep it up.
I feel most human when cleaning.
Very much like a woman
when doing any hard labor.
But disrupting the habit of undoing
doesn’t clean up the mess.
I don’t have to look the debris in the eye
to gather it all without hesitation.
I cut myself so the cat won’t.
The pain is less because I know why.
But I can’t explain to her /
him / it / doesn’t matter.
I almost forgot that it matters to anyone:
should like the dotted line of trajectory
like cut here when you don’t have scissors
and need kindling to keep warm.
I kiss past lovers in the cold darkness
of memory reformed to dream.
I remember how much desire is in me and feel
most like an animal when I desire
and most ok when I forget:
like the thing happens and then you clean it up.
There is nothing left to be decided.