By M. Cynthia Cheung

Last August’s shed insect cases
          A litter scattered and heaped
                    Between the fence and compost barrels

Beneath them, a thousand new grub generations
          The dry click of their jaws as they pulled meat
                    Off bones, rolled wet peels through their guts

The swarm squirming over
          A half-chicken carcass or a sack of salmon bones
                    No muscle fascicle left untransformed

Soft corpulent larval bodies
          In segments, shadow of the sickening
                    Rhythmic twitch, their muttered twirl

Disintegrating our carefully made-up lines
          Our heave of dim-witted couplings—how often
                    We pretended a commonplace lust could be enough

Repeated in close quarters over and over
          Until a humming cloud glittered up darkly
                    From the trash heap, the fish and the fowl

All our discards that rode off in the stomachs of flies

M. Cynthia Cheung is a practicing physician in the United States who also writes poetry.

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