essay #5

animal wonder
 
WONDERS OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
 
A fly was on my wall. Half-dangling, feet outstretched, wings against the wood. Quite dead, taunting gravity, no webs holding it. Sometimes I laughed at the fly that saw nothing and that, in expired attitude, was embracing the entire room.
            It’s gone now; I guess it could only fool with physics so long. I almost miss it, but not much.
 
This morning, while vacuuming, listening to that musical, domestic hum, I found the fly. Musca domestica. There, on the floor where it fell. Supine, feet outstretched, wings against the carpet. I turned off the machine to get a better look.
            I was about to pick it up when my cat beat me to it, pouncing between my legs, licking it up. Mister Roland’s a filthy thing, really. Fond of dead flies—live ones, too, but he has a hard time catching them. I once brought him to a friend’s cabin that had been vacant half the summer. I think he ate forty-three lifeless houseflies and six enormous horseflies before vomiting on the upholstery. It was none of it a very pretty sight.
            Roland left quite pleased with himself and began to preen. I felt a little queasy as I got back to cleaning.
 
– Evelyn B. Hirschworth
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