'The Fly' & 'A Nest of Ants': Two Poems by John Grey


When you’re around,

I think of the fly.

Out and out pest bothering human and animal alike.

But it’s more than that.

With your buzzing and biting,

your cosmic eyes that can see out the

back of themselves,

and your infuriating speed off the mark

which saves you from any consequence –

you really are a flying insect.

And yet I am enamored of you, as you are of me.

But, worst of all, a fly carries diseases.

Is it just coincidence that one of them is love?



I’m on my knees, peering into

a meticulously organized community

reigned over by an egg-laying queen –

I can’t tell soldier from weaver,

carpenter from shepherd,

but they’re all in there somewhere,

the Protestant work-ethic

perfectly miniaturized.

I’m happy to leave them be,

go about their business,

the unstinting activity,

each and every one,

a devotee of survival.

If I was God,

I could look at people this way.

The clambering crowds.

The milling throngs.

All dependent on me finding

the right egg-laying queen.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.

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