I have been taught to see not the fly
But the germs on its legs.
The shit it just landed on,
Twisting together between its hands
Like a sadistic movie villain
Planning his elaborate trap,
Muttering his plan
“Shigella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus
for the human.”
I have been taught not its life
But its rein of terror.
From maggot to kamikaze biological weapon
In just three weeks.
I have also been taught of the saprophytes
Whose job is to decay and decompose,
Giving soil life.
But you are not a saprophyte.
I have been instructed of the Great Chain of Being.
You are given as food for the frogs
And work your way up to my own nutrition.
But moths could just as well be the entree.
Food for disease. The trade off. A poor deal all around.
I have been taught that you are a pest,
The label for those whose role we don’t understand.
You exist on the waste of humans.
Is that the whole of your existence?
The meaning of your brief life?
You land before me.
My two eyes locking with your many.
What do they see?
Ten thousand worlds
You pause momentarily
As I raise my hand to swat,
And I just catch the faintest sound-
You are just like me.
My hand holds.
I whisper back with a smile,
You are wrong my friend.
For I have seen and heard you.
And in this moment I have changed.
That is what makes us different.
Now, you must tell me,
Just what you meant-
What makes us the same?
I set my hand back down
And lean in close.
The fly steps back,
But holds its wings still-
Desperate for this new attention.
I will teach you the great secret.
Just give me your ear for this brief moment
And never forget for the rest of your life-
The fly rubs its hands,
Shit spraying all over the table-
I’m sorry. I really am.
He made me promise not to tell.
You must find your own friend,
And discover at least a few
of the ten thousand worlds.