A fly was observing The Great Silence,
cakewalking six-legged across the pane.
Slow, slow. My first thought was to kill,
but couldn’t. Not in Francis’ room.
I watched her
rub thin wires together as she crossed
and recrossed. Milk light
shone through her veined wings.
One of her kind, corpse akimbo,
lay on the sill, wings primly folded.
I slid the window open, but she
kept treading glass Braille,
obeying her hidden law:
Turn in a circle, fly
to the bottom of the frame, crawl
between glass and gray felt.
Then make a sudden exit
on a cold current, out over bare oaks.
River and sky were mute,
and I was a fool and happy.
I woke on my left side, hoping a drenched
sycamore and white sky were all I needed
to hold off morning, that the only mouths were birds,
obbligato over whining engines. Thick
snakes of rain slid down the cheap façade
and darkened a raw stump, all that was left
of a young, sick tree. I wanted someone to blame
for scars and hacked-off branches and the lie
of seven flowerings. Fumes from a trash bag
stung me. Light was knifing through a cloud
and would be ruthless. In the tangled yard,
I saw a ragged weed globed with clear drops
only a hair could hold. Then it was time.
Downtown, they lined us up and walked us in.