When they leave me
with Grandma, she pours
herself a glass of port. I watch
a fruit fly circle and land
in the syrup-orange
liquid. It swims.
Soon there's another;
now three, four, and five,
their wings beat tiny pulses
as the clock strikes.
Grandma dips a thumb
into the port: two flies
stick. She presses
her thumb against a napkin,
then into the drink
again. She shows me
dark spots on an amber wash,
the napkin my smeared
specimen chart: my prize
for coming indoors.
When she drinks, her gums
flash pink and sharp—a thrill
like finding an earthworm
under a rock. It's better
to belong to land than air,
and Grandma comes from earth.
She smells of mold, my mother,
white sheets. Will they
come back for me?
They always do. But this time
they might not. Grandma
and I will make our beds
in the dirt. Our mouths
will fuse, wet-warm
skin stretching over our ears
and eyes, sounds softening
to static, the darkness pressing in
through the pale glaze.