Charlotte resident Gail Peck is an award-winning author who’s published five poetry books. Her poems and essays have been published in numerous journals throughout the county, and her work has been widely anthologized. Her collection, Counting the Lost, is forthcoming in late September. “Transport” will appear in that book, and also in “Interpoezia.” Visit her website, http://www.gailpeck.org.
Photograph of a woman in Berlin after a
bombing raid, 1942
Half human, half monster, wearing
a gas mask, pushing a baby carriage
hurriedly past a movie marquee
where part of a word—L O R I A
is visible through smoke. She’s like
the figure from the movie, “The Fly,”
that I saw in Berlin when I was eleven,
an army brat afraid of getting lost,
but lonely enough to go out.
A scientist experiments with a transport machine,
and decides to enter it himself,
not knowing a fly has flown in. The man
emerges with the arm and head of a fly,
and the fly has escaped
with a small human head and arm.
The fly must be found. The white carriage
is rolling along, the baby inside
might have its own mask made
like a body suit, but air needs pumping in.
Hurry, hurry. An infant longing
for its mother’s face, a mother
playing peek-a-boo, disappearing
only briefly then returning
with a smile. The wife tells her son
to try and catch the white fly
he’s seen, and screams
when she finds the maid with a swatter.
Hadn’t she told her husband how frightened
she was: Electronics, rockets, earth satellites,
supersonic flight, everything going so fast. All
his reassurance that life as we know it
will change, and humanity will never fear again.
The huge black head of the husband
when the wife pulled the cover off wasn’t as scary
as the close-up of the fly, its human face
and fat tongue shrieking, Help me, Help me.