In Greek, Drosophila melanogaster,
one of the few things I remember
from high school, like ontogeny
recapitulates phylogeny, those phrases
from Mr. Westbrook’s biology class
that stuck in the amber of my brain,
I don’t know why.
A grand name for the lowly fruit fly,
but they not only have interesting genes,
apparently, and probably pollinate
the apple trees, like bees (God giving
a purpose to even the puniest of us),
they’re tough little bastards,
came inside with my composter,
and now, with the cold coming on,
have decided they like it here
in the kitchen warmth
with the browning bananas.
Afoot or on the wing, they’re faster
than even my best moves,
like the patented Thunder Clap,
and seem to thrive on lampshade light
and dirty dishes, only the dullards
ever falling into one of my springes,
their little bodies water-winged
and floating face up
in something sticky-sweet.
This tussle may go on all winter
but I plan to win in the end.
But what would happen if they did?
And how, I wonder?
Oh, well, I’m not fruit, nor rotten
yet, so I ain’t gonna worry about it,
except maybe to drink even more
than usual, see if I can grow more acrid
at the last, maybe even turn
to pure vinegar, too sour
to suck, or sprout a new sprig
of apple bough in the spring.