Eric Van Cleve


They promise they’ll be dead before they quit.
Why can’t they just be docile like the Amish?

There’s just too many. Each one’s like a dot
buzzing in a barn, or indoors, they smash
when hammered with a rolled-up magazine,
Newsweek or Time. Who cares whether each death
is painless? What seems worse is the long line
to get inside, the waiting.
                                        And there’s math

involved: lift off, how many in each row,
what kind of drinks to serve. Subtraction’s used—
       fewer and fewer flies against the window.
The last one knows it’s trapped and wants outside

Nothing is new: that second when it dies,
       the news, redundant in its compound eyes.

Location: Columbus, Ohio

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