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I was 7 
and riding the school bus home
to the trailer we lived in back then.
My chubby, right cheek was pressed 
against the cool glass window when 
a chunky horsefly landed an inch 
from my eye so that it’s wings tickled
my black lashes. I slowly raised my
pure white palm and smacked the
the fly with all my might.
I was surprised to find that this
fly didn’t escape, or even try–
the smaller ones at home always did.
The big dumb thing just stayed there.

To this day, when I close my eyes, 
I still feel the ticklish lashes and juicy squish
of gore flooding the microscopic valleys between 
my palm prints. In one recurring dream,
I’m swept away by the undertow of tiny
crimson rivers spilling down the bus window.

I still kill sin,
But now I’m never surprised
By the bloody mess.

Hear Cody Adams talk about this poem on the Reformed Journal Podcast:

Photo by Shinichiro Ichimura on Unsplash

Cody Adams

Cody Adams is an English Teacher from Buffalo, NY. His poetry has appeared in Ekstasis Magazine, Heart of Flesh, Cacti Fur, among others. He received the 2016 Clarence Amann award for his short story Unstuck. He also serves as a Board Member for Forefront Festival.


  • David E Stravers says:

    That big horsefly did not get away, like the smaller houseflies usually do. Are smaller sins more likely to escape our efforts to kill them?