All Creatures Great and Small

For a week

a blue fly

buzzed around our apartment

subsisting on our Pomchi’s water,

kibble

and kitchen counter crumbs

and dodging attempts

by my wife to swat it.

 

I used to catch flies

quite easily in my palm

and release them back

to their natural estates

but since my colon surgery

the bugs are always winning.

 

Today,

there was a grey spider,

maybe a brown recluse,

silently gazing

at the bathtub drain.

I could not find a container

to capture it,

so I turned on the faucet

to the lowest cold

and highest flow

and watched the creepy crawly

circle the drain three times

before it vanished

into the mercies

of the Chattanooga sewers.

 

I was convinced 

that it could survive

by rafting itself

onto to the nearest turd,

both a source

of refuge and sustenance,

that my Puerto Rican

family of Marine Tigers

living in Miami

(at the time

when Castro refugees

all mythically made

the 330 mile trip

on ten fallen coconut palms

thatched together,

and audaciously declared

eight street,” Calle Ocho”

and their new land,” Little Havana”)

contemptuously called,

back in my racist youth,

a “floating Cuban.”

 

When I came into the bedroom

my wife was waving around

her big brand-new blue fly swatter,

the one she bought at Dollar Tree.

 

Our Pomchi, also on the bed,

resting on her back

with her legs up in the air

and stomach joyfully exposed

was barking for a good hard belly rub.

 

Whack, whack, whack

went the fly swatter,

squarely hitting our little girl

in her sweet spot,

generating orgasmic squeals.

 

The blue fly,

affectionately   

called Mike Pence

for its habit of landing

unnoticed on

any old white thing for

two minute and three seconds,

and now, a visiting family member

that had overextended its stay

more days than

were humanely bearable,

was buzzing around my wife’s head.

 

Its movement was noticeably slower

and when it landed on the faux leather arm

of my multi position reclining chair,

I was almost able to snag it in my palm.

Too tired to buzz afar,

it rested again on the arm,

weakly regurgitating its own spittle.

 

I called my wife over, 

a former professional chef

and therefore an expert

in the art of

preparing, cooking and eating

dead things,

knowing she be eager to try out

her new instrument of death.

 

A sure aim sent the Blue

to the skin colored shag carpet,

and in its last struggle

I started to sing inside the only

song that would be

a proper elegy:

 

La cu-ca- | racha, la cu-ca-racha

ya no pue-de ca-mi-nar

por-que no | tiene, por-que le faltan

las dos pa- titas “de” a-trás.

 

(“The cockroach, the cockroach /

can no longer walk /

because she doesn’t have, because she lacks / the two hind legs to walk.”)

 

I imagined it

crying out

“Help me! Help me!”

like the half human,

half insect creature

caught in the spider web

at the end of that

old Vincent Price

creature feature

were death by big rock

was a mercy

compared to

arachnoid decapitation.

 

Whack

and the Blue’s head

was severed

from its thorax.

Whack

and its wings

flew East and West.

Whack

and its abdomen

closely followed.

Whack

and its legs

buckled under it.

Whack

a final time

to make sure

it was dead. 

 

My wife had

over-killed,

and the worst

cardinal sin,

had over-cooked

something that

was meant

to be tartare.

 

Still our Pomchi

sniffed, licked

and eventually ate

the Blue,

her smile

declaring it

the best thing

she swallowed

all week. 

 

For a half hour

my wife rewarded her

with the swat, swat, swat

of blue belly rubs. 

 

Note:

Marine Tiger was the ship that carried people from Puerto Rico, and so the white people in New York started calling all the Puerto Rican people ‘Marine Tigers.’