On Mercy

No, I didn’t
delight in the fruit
flies’ deaths,
though anyone who 
heard me scoff 
would have thought
I did. One version 
of myself would have 
let them overrun 
the kitchen. I’ve learned 
to harden 
my heart.
If I’d have let 
the fruit flies live,
I’d have named
each one. 
Consider how small 
each of their hearts,
how much tiny 
blood, the little 
distances the blood 
travels in those small 
bodies. God of tiny 
who counts each hair 
on my head—
I am god 
of them now. Stuck 
to the strip, 
I know some of them 
are still alive. 

Daniella Toosie-Watson

Daniella Toosie-Watson is a poet, visual artist and educator from New York. She was a 2020 winner of the 92Y Discovery Contest, a 2019 winner of the University of Michigan Hopwood Award for Poetry, and a finalist for the 2019 Frontier Open Contest. She has received fellowships from the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, VONA, the InsideOut Detroit Literary Arts Project, and The Watering Hole. Her poetry has appeared in Callaloo, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Paris Review, The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT and elsewhere. Daniella received her MFA from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program.