When her heart died, the commune realized that it was only a rotten banana. Its skin bursting with the small seeds of fruit flies. It was sweet like all rotten things, terminal things, that are out of anything else to offer. No one was comfortable moving it, or touching it. Holding their breath was easier than imagining it oozing between their fingers. Like trauma, her heart was only good for processing, so the commune let her lay in bed, bloating.
When the flies finally emerged, they hung around the whole summer. Little thoughts and arguments that whispered memories from forgotten corners. They made their home in laundry hampers and waste bins, anywhere the remnant of something functional remained. The commune would swat at them. They had no teeth to bite with or stingers for punishing, but when they flew in the ears and mouths of residents, there was the taste and sound of old violence.
In the fall, they noticed other fruits, apples and pears, had found homes in their chests. They were speckled brown. When a meeting was called by the wisest resident, they spoke between great coughs, where clouds of fruit flies would billow from them like the breath of a dragon carcass.
“We must,” they said, “hold accountable whoever forgot to take out the trash.” The flies buzzed in the now-yellowed whites of his eyes. The commune agreed, of course, it was her fault first. She who had let her heart become a home for flies. No one could admit that they were afraid to touch the saccharine mass that hummed in her bedsheets. No one wanted to recognize how sweet their breath was becoming. No one could understand the violence of polite disintegration.
Antonio Bouxa is a Wisconsin writer and alumni of UW Platteville. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his 2 dogs, 4 cats, and 1 partner. His work has appeared in Aesthetica Magazine, Glass Mountain and The Driftless Review. His debut poetry collection Bone Soup is available at most major book sellers.
Jeff Weiland graduated from UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County in the 1980's and has always enjoyed photography.