A Final Tale

We’re on the back porch, all four of us,
basking in the rise and fall of yellow balls
as running becomes a trot and jumping a hop.

After the last bark it’s time to go in.
A fly follows a final tail through the wall
between the dry summer heat and whirring AC.

It’s instinct, really. Immediate pleasure
without planning or a thought of what comes next.
And so, through dinner, through clean-up,

through the buzz of melting sugar desserts
it bangs against each pane of glass and lands
long enough to gasp, and not get caught.

When the lights are shut off, it flies
up the stairs exhausted and slips under
the door to the only light visible.

We gorge ourselves in this moment,
in sweet scented sheets, in fans pumping,
in store-bought and installed seclusion:

Comfort. Comfort. Comfort. Thinking
we will find our way home by dawn.
But daybreak is a heavy burden,

this fat body that cannot be lifted by such
small wings, a slow trip down the stairs
and a pause before the slap of morning.

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