The fly strip over
My grandma’s kitchen table
Meals attended by
Final fatal flutterings
Of tiny crystalline wings
Recently I was standing in the Montreal Metro waiting for one of the dilapidated trains to hobble into the station when I noticed a skylight with hundreds of what looked to be dead flies in it. At first I thought they should clean that out, but then my mind drifted back to meals on my grandparents’ farm and the fly strip over the kitchen table. I’ve always been grateful for my time spent on the farm as a child. We learned at an early age and naturally where food came from. It was no shock to us that meat was animals, unlike our cousins from away who were traumatized the first time they saw a pig being slaughtered. I too read and adored Charlotte’s Web and watched Disney cartoons, but I could recognize them for the fantasies they are. In reality, every meal we eat — meat-filled or vegetarian — is accompanied by the death song of some formerly living thing.
I Hate to Break it to You, but You Already Eat Bugs: “The FDA’s Defect Levels Handbook lays it all out. Staples like broccoli, canned tomatoes, and hops readily contain “insect fragments”—heads, thoraxes, and legs—and even whole insects. (I won’t tell you about the rat hair limits…) Fig paste can harbor up to 13 insect heads in 100 grams; canned fruit juices can contain a maggot for every 250 milliliters; 10 grams of hops can be the home for 2,500 aphids (pictured above).”
To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”