Soiled Silo by Autumn-Marie Silva

Self Preservation

March 29, 2020

Today I have sat on my knees

in front of my window, watched

the fruit flies which walk there, up, down,

without noticing each other. They stayed

even after I crawled around the floor to gather

apple cores and uneaten sandwiches in wax 

paper bags, yogurt cups congealed, tea cups, 

their bag-hearts crusted irrevocably with white 

and yellow molds, so hesitantly conscripted 

from the air. The mold says: “We will kill but we will 

do it always ready to turn heel, if you change

your mind and decide, we should live sporic, 

in freedom, unplanted by these wars.” 

So the mold is angry. And the fruit flies say: 

“We love you more when you do not eat, 

when you leave your packed lunches hunched 

on the rug, leaking. We imagine, and we do it

only kindly, that you may grow so skinny

that you die. This is why we so love, your forgetting.” 

When things give, it is natural to take. I too, 

would want to put my tasting feet places 

where they had been batted from, eat, 

eat and brim to fullness 

with delicious dread, because this eating

means the room stays clean. The body 

makes no more edible mess, after it has liquified  

where it is soft, elsewhere crumbled. Familiar

is the weight of meals like that. Swallowers of next year’s seeds. 

Listen! With the fruit flies, 

learn to eat the paper on the walls, 

onion skins, fabrics softened with rot,

the discarded stems of bananas. Learn self preservation. 

Food will not wait for us so we will stand and wait 

in unclaimed orchards, chins up under the trees, 

for fruit to widen itself from nothing and into maturity

like their re-coloring is performed

by our patience. “But we are still green,” say the bananas, 

“and it means nothing to us. Not just your crude, obvious eyes, 

are able to decide when things are finished. We know ourselves better.” 

The bananas say: “We are still green.” It’s true. 

And unripeness must feel real as readiness,

or realer, tighter, and solitary, the peel known and named 

the confiner, the eggshell. All the fiber of the life 

sticking to it like thick veins pressed

to the side of heavy udders, 

protective. So today I have imagined being firm,

un-breachable, made for my greenness, unable to be spoken to.

For when there is spring there is only spring,

when there is summer there has only ever been summer. 

When I am, I am, and am, and am. And inescapable.

I say: “The rug has already taken me and given me back. 

I have jumped out the window and risen through it, starved,

moldered. And I am still green.”

I say: “un-killable.”

And I speak of you, as you now are.

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