“houseflies who trapped themselves indoors only/to languish,” Poetry by Genevieve Arlie

Ferryman’s matin

Since morning I’ve killed two houseflies
who trapped themselves indoors only
to languish at the windowsill like housewives
in the fur and lace of mourning, licking salt
from the lips of teacups, impregnating melon
rinds in the trash; and released five ladybugs
to an opalescent autumn, some uniform
persimmon, some polka-dot candy
apple, so at least they didn’t have to die
on their backs, wings splayed, legs splayed,
in dusty microbial corners, but the fresh-blown
grave of the world. Whatever lures them in
from outside, they never escape unassisted,
though for now I come & go as I please.

Genevieve Arlie is a poet, editor, and translator from California currently based in the Midwest. She holds literature degrees from Stanford, Columbia, and the University of Iowa, where she was an Arts Fellow in translation. She was a finalist in poetry for the 2016 Disquiet Literary Prize. Look for her recent work in Flyway, harlequin creature 8/9, Serpentine and Waxwing.

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