August 7, 2014

Poetry Friday--"Summer Skirmish"

(A little break from Sketchbook Project poems!)

I hesitated about posting this for one main reason: fruit flies are GROSS.

I do not like cold fruit, so I leave my fruit hanging in a tiered metal basket in my kitchen. In the summer, especially with an abundance of seasonal fruit, a little over-ripeness can occur before I get around to eating it all.


If I'm lucky, I can time it right and get the peaches into the fridge before the fruit flies show up. But, if not, I have to resort to tried and true methods of getting rid of them.
Summer Skirmish

Once again I miss the just-
right phase of my peaches
and suddenly there They are.

A vinegar trap may seem
too simple to be effective
against multitudes of fruit flies

but one must remember
Drosophila melanogaster
is not known for its smarts.

I take an empty baby food jar,
add a spoonful of cider vinegar,
cover the top with plastic wrap,

punch a few holes, and voila!
Once in, they can't find their
way out--glug, glug, glug.

After a day or two, fruit fly
corpses with their demonic red
eyes dulled, go down the drain.

Alas, I remain unconvinced
that Drosophila do not
spontaneously generate,

So, smartly, I put the old
baby food jar under the sink
to await the next skirmish.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I know I said fruit flies are gross, but, they are useful to scientists. If you don't believe me, take a look at FlyBase: A Database of Drosophila Genes & Genomes.

If you'd like more general information about the creatures, click here.

(I've found myself watching them crawl around the trap. I saw one fly on top of another, which led me to wonder about fruit fly copulation, which led me to this. I know, I know...you didn't really need to know all that.)

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week. Mary Lee is our P.F. Round-Up organizer, and she does a fine job of keeping us all on track!

23 comments:

  1. I often wonder if they're spontaneously appearing too. Are they just in fruit, & appear at one certain time? Thanks for a solution-didn't know. Love that your poem began with a "darn it" and then a "gotcha", Diane.

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  2. I think you need to put this poem on the fridge!!

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    1. Eeew! Refrigerator poetry definitely should be about more tasteful topics!

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  3. Fruit flies...they do appear out of nowhere it seems. When one appears, I know two things: there are more I'm not seeing yet, and it's time to look down to the bottom of the fruit bowl.

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  4. Truthfully, I think they're interesting. Not enough to study at length, though.

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  5. I like the skirmish metaphor. And I'm not sure if I would put this one on the frig, either...

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    1. Peach picture, yes. Fruit fly poem, no.

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  6. Can't really call this poem "peachy," but it's interesting! Good luck keeping the flying things away from your snacks...

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  7. I did not know you could catch fruit flies with cider vinegar. Thank you, Diane, your peaches and your fruit flies!

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    1. I suppose if you believe the adage "you can more flies with honey," you could substitute mead. It's the fermentation smell they like. I wonder what would work the best? Science fair project!

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  8. Your poem is educational, Diane -- I didn't know you could catch them with cider vinegar either. I'll have to try it.

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    1. I hope so, Tabatha, nobody wants to read about fruit flies for the the heck of it! ;-)

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  9. I agree that room-temp fruit is preferable! Love that word "skirmish." Thank you, Diane!

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    1. There are any number of normally-served-cold foods that I prefer room-temperature! I had a Chinese co-worker who told me that cold foods are harder to digest. I don't know if it's true, but I've never had digestion problems...

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    2. The reason I mentioned she was Chinese is because she was always giving me Chinese medicine hints, and when I had cancer, she brought me a special tonic. It tasted worse that un-grape-flavored cough medicine!

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  10. I'm with you! Just made a vinegar trap the other day. Your poem shows no skirmish is too mundane for poetry!

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    1. It has all the elements of an epic poem!

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  11. Too funny - from fruit to fruit fly to a fun fracas. Thanks for sharing. = )

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    1. My pleasure! It's not exactly polite conversation in normal situations, but for P.F. it's just right!

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  12. Egads! Who's writing the horror inspired poetry now? ;) I just got some beautiful peaches yesterday. Thanks for the reminder to be vigilant.

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    1. And now you know how to trap the little demons if they do show up!

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