Spotted Wing Drosophila

“Beelzebub got to that baby,” is what other mothers say
inside their own heads, how other mothers talk
to one another – I assume. They don’t talk to me.
But there must have been a day –
everyone wearing an apron
with a single cotton crochet frill,
maybe a pocket or two. And they call you,
they say, “Bring your baby. Of course bring your baby.
There are biscuits in the oven
and the last of the summer raspberries
boiling down just now into jam.”
There must have been a time
when we didn’t worry about the spotted fruit fly
larvae wriggling in our fruit, mingling with the seeds
like seeds – but white, but dancing.
Males, of course, with black spots
on the tips of their wings like epaulets,
like a badge, some signal of their class and rank
and duty: “I’m gonna fuck up your garden.”
I don’t even pick the fruit anymore. And oh,
how I spent that summer pregnant, dreaming
of feeding berries from the bramble to my baby.
Now the dogs won’t even eat them.
And who am I fooling – like my child has ever eaten a berry.
For every mother bragging about her infant’s
taste for squash I see the invisible meals,
the baby fighting, squealing, all that beautiful, rotting produce
in the trash. I know too well the exaggerated gag
of a child spitting out a slice of strawberry
as though he can taste maggots in the flesh.
I give my child peanut butter to keep him fat
and shrug when he screams at the playground.
I can’t control the flies either.