Grapes left to flies for want
of us who sprawl in bed late
are still grapes left to flies. Indifferent,
we must be some riot of guilt, intemperate
loungers, scuffs in the unfinished
threshold of last night. Putrescence
on the lowermost grape is merely wished-
for grace clothed in ambivalence.
And that you could be holding a glass or held
by one is the same as saying the gelding
lying bloated in the sun, the birch felled
for nothing more than boredom, is seldom
noticed by the mirrors of our house.
The computer hums your name. The flies,
some other lust or nonsense of wing. Housed
in their frenzy, beating themselves senseless
against an hour, they know nothing of you,
nor that their day’s so short the bruise
of a grape only keeps in motion two
wings two minutes longer. If they lose
their love of dying we might also begin
our day as fugitives, like when you swam
off coast with me. The blue-black ocean
held you, and I was dispossessed. Not because I am
a lover of the threat that closeness poses.
I am. Because out of the flies
clouding the plump bulbs of kelp, rose
a gull’s riddled body. Something dies
every minute we fail to praise it and I care
nothing, or very little. What more
can you take from me? I swear
the ocean once was a broken mirror.
“Flies” first appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, 56.3, 2006.