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Monday, November 07, 2005


by Robert M. Chute

Torture, or at least the cruel
satisfaction extracted, the bully’s games
played at Abu Ghraib reminded me
of a boy I’ll call Billy, de-winging flies.
Mostly a sad showing off I now realize.
They were, after all, only flies, he’d say,
although I supposed you could work
to death beating you missing wings.
They were just flies and might well been
swatted, sprayed, stuck on fly paper to die.
Or was the prison scandal more like
the frogs Billy found by the brook
and inflated with straws stuck up
their asses? They floated off, swimming
helplessly in air. “They’ll recover. Won’t
even remember,” he said. They were
only frogs after all and I presume
neither flies nor frogs feel shame or
post traumatic stress syndrome--but Billy?
Billy, I’m sure, was never the same.

Born near the Chute River, Naples, Maine in 1926, Robert M. Chute taught and conducted research at Middlebury College, San Fernando State (CA), and Lincoln University (PA) before returning to Maine as Chair of Biology at Bates College. Now Professor Emeritus of Biology, Bates College, Chute has a record of scientific publication in Parasitology, Hibernation Physiology, General Biology, and Environmental Studies. His poetry and collage poems appear in many journals including Ascent, Beloit Poetry Journal, BOMB, The Cape Rock, Cafe Review, The Literary Review, Texas Review. His poetry books include a three language reissue of Thirteen Moons in English, French, and Passamaquoddy (2002), and most recently, a three chapbook boxed set, Bent Offerings, from Sheltering Pines Press (2003). He is currently working on a series of poems based on reading scientific journals such as Nature and Science.