The Fly By J. L. Lewis


Early evening, on my porch swing, as I sat reclining
Lighting pipe as was my custom, having finished dining.
Seeming outwardly contented, though I’d recently lamented
Melancholy of my hand in a crime I’d yet repented.

Of a maiden, heavy laden, yearning for hallucinations
Even though investigation, guiltless due to separation
I and others had their part in the ceasing of her heart
By the sprinkles of the tempest, that which tore her soul apart.

Maiden with unearthly beauty, cast in smoke-filled rooms
Roller coaster pushed her closer, closer, closer to her doom.
And lysergic sugar cubes like the comic made her smile
As we tempters, soon tormentors, begged her to stay for tea a while.

She who readily was able, lift the spoon from the table
Like the magic frosty snowman of the children’s fable.
As her laughter filled the hallway empty much too soon.
And that laughter, ever after, fills my thoughts this month of June.

Realized fears of boredom capture, searching out the final rapture,
In another house of mirrors saw the cursed needle snatch her.
And in horror watched her eyes, as she whispered her goodbyes
All then silent save my cries and the buzzing of the flies.

And a fly that cursed creature, flying past my ear
Landing on the now still lips of the one I held so dear.
Fly away, you thing, I said feeling my cheeks turn crimson red.
Madly shrieking as a child, do respect the dead.

Then the insect did take flight, out the window, out of sight.
And I kneeled beside my sweet, crying then with all my might.
Yet, still, another insect flew on my love upon the floor
And a second one was buzzing, as I was so quickly running out the door.

Now, I sit with memories of times that were much younger.
Sorrows drowned in merciful wine to still my mental hunger.
As the breeze disturbs the trees, I think I might hear thunder,
Yet, my thoughts are on the past, and I can all but wonder.

Even as the wind grew strong, my memories did linger
And looking down I chanced to see, a fly land on my finger.
I raised my hand to strike, then slowly let it down,
And watched it as it crawled, and watched it with a frown.

My eyes were open wide, as they centered on the beast
Whose front legs rubbed together preparing for a feast.
Then I struck at it wildly, as though I had lost control
With anger steaming from my pores and hatred in my soul.

The pestilence took flight and dodged my murderous blow
As anger became fright, knowing not where he would go.
Then a shiver traveled up my spine filling me with fear
For distinctly came a buzzing, buzzing near my ear.

Shaking my head wildly to rid this noise behind,
Striking nowhere just to strike, striking, striking blind.
Shaking my hair to and fro to rid this noise behind
Pray silence from this buzzing, else I lose my mind.

This thing flew to the table, then stopped that I might see.
Cursed kill thee if I’m able, take this oath from me.
Yet, moved from place to place, causing feelings most unpleasing,
Moving just before I strike, moving, landing, teasing.

Then sitting lest, I failed for rest, I watched it very closely.
Its color was the palest blue, its buzzing almost ghostly.
And knowing then, I gasped, I’d seen this beast before.
He was the same, I thought in pain, I’ve seen this beast before.

Then the thunder rose in level and rain poured from the sky
Rain bursting from the heavens to drown the buzzing of the fly.
Oh, blessed beautiful water, which seemingly will save
From joining my beloved into an early grave.

Then bowing head in thanks, I opened up my eyes
And echoes through the valley vibrated with my cries.
My head became too dizzy, and a weakness in my thighs
For my front porch was covered, with buzzing, crawling flies.

Terror of all terrors, haunting me this swarm
Here hiding from the rain in shelter from the storm.
Their buzzing rose above the storm and thundered in my head
And lest I made my way inside, I knew that I’d be dead.

Rushing out into the storm and around to my backdoor
Panting as I ran inside and falling on the floor.
Knowing that some evil force into my life was stealing,
For the angry noise behind my doors kept alive this feeling.

Perhaps my mind is playing tricks because I am alone
I know it is the lot of men to fear of the unknown.
Then rising up to call a friend, my voice did tremble moan
Before my eyes, a pale blue fly had landed on the phone.

Then standing by this cursed fly, whose mercy I beseeched,
Whose front legs rubbed together, and always out of reach.
Whose buzzing when he lit the air, was speaking to my mind,
Of one who died so young, of one who was so kind.

And as the buzzing of the flies was reaching a crescendo,
I thought I sensed his message, a rest but not the end though.
I’ll beat you fly; you see said I, racing up the stairs,
Casting off my rain-soaked cloak, casting off my cares.

And waiting in my room, the door stands open wide.
Waiting for my visitor, that beast to come inside.
Wondering what night shall bring for my love so nigh
My gun won’t kill the pale blue one, not the fly but I.


J. L. Lewis has been writing for decades but only recently began submitting to publishers. His work appears in numerous periodicals as well as several anthologies. A poetry chapbook, Seasons of Passage, is being published by Underground Books and is set for release by the end of the year. He is currently working on a novel. He lives on a farm with his wife, daughters, and many cats.

Published 10/31/23


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