in the blackberry bush cried out, wailing a song in E-flat on its
third wing, accompanied by a squeaky hinge on its multifaceted eye. The hinge
needed oiling, but the noise appealed to this poor dragonfly--the animal
that leaves all other animals in its wake, being the paragon of flight.
A germ stood by, waiting for the appropriate moment. The hinge opened, in
the midst of an arpeggio, and the germ slipped in, to settle in the moist
visions of the eye.
"The perfect place for sunbathing," the germ announced. The various lenses
of the eye concentrated light on that spot. The germ reveled in the heat
and began to reproduce.
The dragonfly had many such guests. It had poor hygiene, believing itself to
be the last of its kind. This dragonfly occupied itself in learned
discourse and in the art of the cantata --and in the development of yeast
cultures, on which it feeds.
Benjamin Franklin had such a dragonfly on his list of species, on a tattered
yellow envelope addressed to him while a correspondent in London, 1761.
Franklin, in Philadelphia, continued to carry this tattered yellow envelope
around simply because it reminded him of a waif, a child he had learned
to trust on the streets of London that year, a girl eleven years old who wore
only paper. She led him by the hand to concerts in Hyde Park, for the
performances of his floral imminence, the king.
The king often mistook this waif for the illegitimate daughter of said
Franklin. The paper of which her dress was composed had on it, between ink
smudges and dried rice pudding (and buttons made of hard coniferous cheese)
a Certificate of Authenticity. Franklin said, no, she was not his daughter.
Nor was she the daughter of the king. Nor was she anyone's daughter, as
anyone could see. She slept in the street, in the open sewer that is a
London street in the year anno Domini 1761. No parent would allow such a
So, obviously, she was not born of man or woman.
Like Macbeth, said Franklin.
The king laughed at that, and he laughed at the drawing of a rattlesnake, in
thirteen pieces, which suddenly appeared on the nameless waif's dress, the dress
made out of paper.
Benjamin Franklin was not known to blush.
The waif, however, had the cutest pink cheeks, the cheeks of a consumptive.
Her coughing soothed the king in his assassination of a violin. Franklin
played the viola da gamba, but not while juggling scientific achievements
with diplomacy. Unless, of course, he had had a glass of wine.
The dragonfly at the beginning of this story had the irrational fear of
horses and dogs, called syphilis. Or, in polite circles, The Clap.
This should not be mistaken for applause.
The king has paid the Earl of Sandwich especially to lead the Londoners in
* * * * *
Born a little ways from the shore of Lake Erie, Andy Miller studied
anthropology and Romance languages in school, and is a writer. He also
paints, and his writing extends to Color Music.