kill that fly
poem by  
  keith  o'connor
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A simple observation can sometimes recall an experience from the past.  That happened when I noticed a dead fly on my window-sill.
 kill that fly 

dead fly 
on my window sill 
laying on it's back 
little spiked legs 
reaching for the sky 
he's belly up 

don't know if it's male 
don't know if it's female 
wonder if there are gay flies 

it's just a dead fly 
why do I care 
through my window 
everything is dead 
on my window 
leafless trees 
paint dark jagged branches 
the sharp blue grey sky 

silky smooth ice 
covers my drive-way 
can't walk up 
can't walk down 
everything polished 
silvery with an 
ice cold fine rain 
except one small spot 
on my window sill 
where that dead fly lies 

I hate flies 
in the late nineteen fifties 
I lived in a walk up flat 
on the edge of the city 
newly renovated they said 
had a new indoor 
water sink 
real pipes connected 
to the city water supply 
no bath 
had an in-house 
had to carry the shit 
bucket out back 
dump it 
flies everywhere 
my first experience 
with country living 
didn't like it 
didn't care how spoiled 
and pampered they said I was 
I wanted civilization 

in my kitchen 
coils of sticky fly-paper 
hang from the ceiling 
each coil filled with struggling flies 
no more room for flies to land 
no more sticky fly-paper 
took up my fly swatter 
killed over one hundred flies 
that hot night 
the great fly killer 
I called myself 

forty years ago that was 
not as many flies these days 
except that fly 
on my window sill 
he once had a life 
doing whatever flies do 
now he's dead 
does it really matter 
how he died 
does it really matter 
that he lived 
that dead fly and I 
we share the experience of living 
we share the experience of dying 
if on some future summer night 
a fly comes too close 
I will reach for my fly swatter 
the great fly killer 
will spring into action 
and kill that fly 

Keith O'Connor 
2001 Nov 30 
Ottawa Ontario Canada 


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