The kind you’re born with, the kind you choose, the kind that teach Catholic school
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A fruit fly fell in my fine crystal glass
half full of five-dollar wine.
Annoyed, I almost flung the final sips
behind a rosebush. But I remembered Bogotá,
where four men fished me, facedown,
from a tide pool of tequila,
delivered my body, unruined, to soft hotel sheets,
and left two white aspirin by the bed.
Fly, maybe grace is everything
that could fuck you but doesn’t.
Like my middle finger, just long enough
to scoop six wretched legs from the deadly red
and set them stumbling toward dusk,
the shadowed promise of coming light —
another unearned chance at life.
As a ninety-four-year-old retired sixth-grade teacher, I am overwhelmed by the truth, love, and kindness I find in your magazine. Often I read with tears in my eyes. When I read Rachael Petersen’s poem about rescuing a fruit fly that landed in her wineglass [“Backyard Mercy,” May 2021], I knew I had to write to you.
A fly landed in my old-fashioned today. I did not mean to share my drink with him, but there he was, doing the butterfly stroke. I scooped him out with a spoon and set him on the table, poor fellow. He shook his head from side to side and slowly came back to life. I swear, he staggered a little as he extended each leg one by one. His wings were next: he preened them, one and then the other. With dogged determination, he wandered the table. I blinked and, just like that, he flew away.