The swelling-fading buzz of the fly
circling the family room
spoils the peace as it ropes the air,
playing camouflage among
the shadows and brown furniture,
silent when I lift the swatter,
encore when I lower my hand,
to swoop along the hallway gallery
of family history photographs,
touching down and taking off
on the faces of my relatives,
smiling despite the disrespect.
It lingers on the glass pane over
the immigrant Swedes settling Kansas,
melting into the black and whiteness,
giving heft to the grainy image,
the blurry expressions,
suffering stories of perseverance,
lives I cannot begin to imagine,
making possible my having chance
one day to chase this irksome fly,
which should seem so easy to grab;
how maddening the grabbing.
This is the latest addition to my chapbook-in-progress Somewhere Phantoms, a collection that is exploring the nature of memory and the tenuous connectedness to one’s past. I find the fly makes a wonderful metaphor for trying to lock down and hold on to those elusive parts of our past history.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com. Creative Commons License. No attribution required.