1. The killer on Forensic Files says to his blond captive; You’re about to have a bad day. I can only imagine. The blindfold. The chokehold. His fingers’ dull caress.
2. Ants crawl up my sleeve, down my dress. I am trying to be humane, picking them off one at a time with a wadded up Kleenex. But even after I kill, I feel them on my skin.
3. They are unstoppable - triumphing over ant bait, partying in those tiny poison pyramids - oblivious, probably breeding.
4. On my way to work I arrive at that stranglehold of freeways - over and underpasses connecting the arteries of the 10 with the 405, where the freeway rises and rims the sky, a momentary blindspot. Or an opening.
5. On the drive home, I contemplate murder.
6. I spray the ants with Black Flag. Next day a cricket does a death march across my floor. And then another.
7. “I have to go pull dandelions,” my friend Catfish emails. “I refuse to spray poison on the yard,” he writes. It’s like he knows. Now I watch TV all night, so guilty I can’t sleep.
8. The killer on Forensic Files waves as the detectives lead him off to prison. I wave back.
* * * * *
"Black Flag" was first published in Moon Tide Press’s Anthology Lullaby of Teeth (Sept. 2017).
Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in The Best American Poetry 2016, Verse Daily, Plume,
Rattle, Literary Mama, Diode, Pirene’s Fountain, Tinderbox, Nashville Review, and elsewhere.
She’s the author of four poetry collections; How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and
other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), Enter Here, (2017),
and Junkie Wife, (2018). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.