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Ode to the Maggot by Yusef Komunyakaa

Ode to the Maggot

By Yusef Komunyakaa

(Published in his 2021 book, Every Day Mojo Songs of Earth;

Farrah, Straus and Giroux)


Brother of the blowfly

And godhead, you work magic

Over battlefields,

In slabs of bad pork


And flophouses. Yes, you

Go to the root of all things.

You are sound & mathematical.

Jesus, Christ, you're merciless


With the truth. Ontological & lustrous,

You cast spells on beggars & kings

Behind the stone door of Caesar's tomb

Or split trench in a field of ragweed.


No decree or creed can outlaw you

As you take every living thing apart. Little

Master of earth, no one gets to heaven

Without going through you first.


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