Matthew King

On a Fly Stuck By Its Wings to the Bathroom Window

A fly is stuck by its wings to the bathroom window,
held in the condensation from the shower, wriggling,
trying to free itself. I doubt it will be able.
I think it’s unlucky to suffer so absurdly.
For the fly, though, it must be no different from struggling
through any other transition between life stages,
entered into just as inevitably, outcome
equally unknown: this is the part where you get stuck
by your wings to a window, which, if you survive it,
will turn out to have been the part before whatever
comes next, after you’re stuck by your wings to a window.
But then, seeing as you’re a fly, you don’t even know
there is a window. You don’t even know you have wings.


A gold hue image of Matthew King wearing a brimmed hat and partially covering his face with his hand.

Matthew King used to teach philosophy at York University in Toronto; he now lives in what Al Purdy called “the country north of Belleville”, where he tries to grow things, counts birds, takes pictures of flowers with bugs on them, and walks a rope bridge between the neighbouring mountaintops of philosophy and poetry. The winner of the 2020/21 FreeFall poetry contest and a runner-up for the 2023 Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award, he has poems published or forthcoming in places such as Best Canadian Poetry, Rattle, The Orchards Poetry Journal, and The New Quarterly. His photos and links to his poems can be found at [provided for the Arc Award of Awesomeness in June 2023]

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