Michael VanCalbergh

My Father Says, ‘This Fly is Immortal’

He doesn’t believe in the divinity
of flies. He means he can’t kill it, can’t
control it. He means he wishes he could stop
the flies for an hour, an evening, a day.
He means he can’t. He means the fly exists
because there’s no time to toss the bananas
he said he’d eat. When work slows down, there’s no
time to think of anything but work.
He envies the fly. He, too, wants to live
simply and die quickly. He desires
the ease with which the fly takes. He wants to
stop caring. He can’t. He won’t. He doesn’t.

Sometimes, I see him swat at the fly
and miss like he didn’t mean to.

Michael VanCalbergh currently lives in Normal, IL and works at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming from, Parenthesis Journal, autofocus Lit, Atticus Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and many other spaces. His poem, “Creation Myth” appeared in the Best New Poets 2021 anthology.

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