The eggs she knows are there turn
into larvae in the galvanized trash bin,

eat voraciously through yesterday’s
chicken carcass, the molded grapes in the dark

at the bottom of the bag. She lets them
writhe to the surface; make hard,

opaque cases from their skin
to transform inside, privately. In mere days

the maggots hatch and hurry out on sheer wings,
flies now buzzing in triumphant circles

before they settle on the shelf’s ledge,
still droning, rubbing their forelegs together

as if hungry or praying
or both.

Jessica Lee’s poems have been published in the New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Missouri Review, and Prairie Schooner, among other journals. In 2020 she was a finalist for Narrative Magazine’s Poetry Contest and Rattle’s Poetry Prize. She is currently an MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University.