In the dry grass, a dragonfly and housefly locked
together, the dragonfly works its mandibles
while the housefly writhes. It is autumn, but barely.
The cottonwoods are turning but not the larch.
Soon these hills will frost and finish both
flies’ lives. My daughter has a fever but not
Covid. She is asleep beside my wife.
Her sisters, inside, have built
a town of toys, and are playing loudly.
Something changes. The dragonfly
releases the housefly, which walks off
one-winged to die. Another dragonfly
alights nearby, its abdomen pulsing
red-fleshed, fecund but out of time.
The world is charged with the grandeur
of God. And what grandeur
is that? The pond blooms with algae
and the broken slab of a timber camp.
On the banks, otters whelp and herons
fledge, and fading autumn light
gilds the shaking leaves of the cottonwood.
Now another daughter races out
announces the demise of their town
in some imagined apocalypse, nearly squashes
the one-winged fly. Trod and trod. We wait
for winter and for dusk, and for God’s
wrath to pass across us.