Confessions of a fly killer

In a lab, the absence

of a paintbrush’s gentle strokes leaves

fly plates painted with red splotches where

chosen forceps crushed the body

of a female darkened, marking an unwanted encounter with a male

so, she is scraped off the white slab

and gently pushed into

a fly morgue

which douses each fly in ethanol

where it meets the carcasses of thousands of other floating flies

fixed in the state they were in when they became of disuse for me.

I have peered into my scope for months now and sorted a hundred flies into irrelevance

saving only the virgin females and discarding the males for fear of their sperm contaminating the pool

with offspring of undesirable genotypes.

I have rued my power as the creature larger than you

who mates your parents to determine your birth,

nourishes your embryonic young with buttery yellow cornmeal and yeast,

and sorts you into viles to give you space to climb, fly, and flit

only to snatch your glutinous white larvae even before they pupate into a shell

To prod them as they squirm in a fluid filled well

To chase the ripples and grip the wormy head in one forceps while tearing the intestines with the other

until the nerves stop firing

and I am left with a lifeless cellophane body

and the ability to invert the carcass

To isolate the brain for study.

I have reflected upon my experimental designs created

with the knowledge of your imminent death at my hands

with a goal that rejects the guilt in favor of achieving what it wants:

the knowledge, the knowledge of your proteins.

Dew loving fly,

Listen out for the screams

Of your fellow flies

Lost into ethanol


in the fly morgue.