Poem Hunter
Another Victim Of Chemical Warfare
HC (29 January 1947 / New York, NY)

Another Victim Of Chemical Warfare

Poem By Hugh Cobb

How must it be to see with compound eyes:
myriad images of the same view
each with a slightly different focal length?
How can your nervous system not overload,
exploding your tiny brain into a billion fragments?

& not just visual stimuli,
but th'entire sensory network
which defines your experience of the world:
the rush of air as you buzz past uneaten orts
guided by the heady scent of decay;
the rapid beating of gossamer wings
supporting a body physics would aver
is far too massive for flight,
sheerness belying their tensile strength.

The acute awareness of each hair on
your plump body or spiny legs
to the slightest disturbance of air,
enables you, more often than not,
to just evade the certain death
of rolled-up newspaper
or lethal lattice of a fly-swatter.

(When I was a boy I would test my reflexes
trying to catch your forebears as they took off;
knowing success by the rapid beating of wings
against my palm. Then, in a gesture
of god-like largesse, I released them to fly away.)

Know then, I stand in awe of your
defensive maneuvers & warning systems,
but these considerations notwithstanding
I reach for an aerosol of poison
& toxify the room
leaving you to die
tiny body twitching spastically:
another victim of chemical warfare.

(Copyright 9/25/2001)

User Rating: 3,1 / 5 ( 7 votes ) 2

Comments (2)

The lines about the body defying physics seem to me to be describing a bee rather than a fly. But you can't catch bees in your hand without getting into the danger of being stung. And yet, it is so obvious that this is a fly you are using as your theme. Rabbi Burns once wrote an ode to a flea, so I guess even the lowest forms of life are worth a poem.
Wow! As accurate a description as any entymologist and good descriptive command of the language. I think I felt a tinge of empathy for the hapless fly....good poem say I