Kae Chatman

Keeping Flies Down

Mix apple cider vinegar 

With liquid dish detergent.

Stir in a shallow bowl.

Cover with Saran Wrap—

Smooth and tighten, 

Poke holes with a nail. 

Then when the noon sun glows, 

Open the screen door.

Cut off the fan.

Wildly attracted, they will dive for the cider— 

Thirsty as a fever,

Tacky with soap. 

Too weak to fly,

They will drown and die,

As we had hoped.


Life defeats us all sooner or later.

I’m no masochist.

I’ve defended what I had to defend,

Everything I ever believed in,

So passionately, so stupidly—

As one of my ex-lovers said,

You are the nerve laid bare.

Lines are dangerous things. 

Those who cross them are damaged,

Shot down,

Reported to the authorities,

Told to sit and wait—take a number.

Don’t call us; we’ll call you.

But they don’t.

And by the time you have figured this out,

You’ve spent light-years 

Traveling to dismal planets

Where nothing ever has grown or will grow— 

Time to turn around fast

Before you run out of fuel.

It’s a long drive south

After Gettysburg.