“Up and down they search, yet only find
the upper storm window—”
Digital art from photographs
©2016 Michael Dickel




after reading Robert Bly

July, the air outside thick with
biting flies. The house alive with more
docile creatures, black and buzzing.
Even in mid-December this farm house
fills with them. They come from nowhere.

Several houseflies clamber for escape
with busy wings against the screen.
Up and down they search, yet only find
the upper storm window — daylight feeding
a frenzy of scientific discovery — and
the lower screen, a shadow lattice
that will not stop the air.

Like a lover who relies on faith,
these true-believers come to worship
at the altar of thought —
each fly some forgotten moment,
some decision not taken,
an ounce of regret.

I could close the inner window and trap them;
then they would not buzz around my bed
at night, reminding me of my failures
butting their heads into a reading lamp
suspended above my pillow.

Oh, they’d still get their precious light,
the wind would come through for them,
even a bit of water on a rainy night.
They might not die, even without food.

Perhaps I leave the window open for the breeze.
Or maybe because I would still see them there,
hear them call — even louder than the fan,
even at night, even while I slept.

—Michael Dickel

One thought on “flies, a poem

  1. My work office is an old farmhouse where, all winter and more so now as the weather is warming, flies literally come out of the woodwork. Ladybugs, too. Making peace and living with them is all I can do. A wonderful poem to ponder this existential truth!


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