HOUSEHOLD APPLES

The country became my childhood. Flies braided themselves on the flypaper in my grandmother’s house. I can smell the bakery and the grocery and the stables and the dairy in that small Dakota town I knew as a kid; knew as I dreamed I’d know your body, as I’ve known nothing, before or since; knew as the flies knew, in the honest, unchaste sense: the burned house, hose-wet, which drew a mist of insects like the blue smoke of its smolder, and gangs of boys, moist-lipped, destructive as its burning. Flies have always impressed me; they are so persistently alive. Now they were coating the ground beneath my trees. Some were ordinary flies; there were the large blue-green ones; there were swarms of fruit flies too, and the red-spotted scavenger beetle; there were a few wasps, several sorts of bees and butterflies–checkers, sulphurs, monarchs, commas, question marks–and delicate dragonflies . . . but principally houseflies and horseflies and bottleflies, flies and more flies in clusters around the rotting fruit. They loved the pears. Inside they fed. If you picked up a pear, they flew, and the pear became skin and stem. They were everywhere the fruit was: in the tree still–apples like a hive for them–or where the fruit littered the ground, squashing itself as you stepped . . . there was no help for it.

– William Gass, In The Heart Of The Heart Of The CountryPosted in Uncategorized

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