And So She Did by Jacquelyn Bengfort
A fact about mayflies you may not know:
Mayflies act like canaries in a coal mine, only for fresh and unpolluted waters.
“Mama, I don’t want to be a bug.”
“Shhh, Jenny-Lee. Stop twitching. I need to pin your wings on straight.”
The crown she added herself, built of a heap of carnations and a few browning roses filched from the funeral parlor’s trash.
More mayfly facts:
They operate in swarms.
They mate in mid-air.
Their sexual organs are paired, two penises or two vaginas each, like animals boarding the Ark.
“I’m the only one, Mama.”
“The only what.”
The only insect. Ms. Butterton picked five blonde girls to dance around the maypole, three boys for Morris dancers. Everyone else: flowers, frogs, frolicking rabbits.
Mayflies live for years in water, die quickly on land.
Jenny-Lee tied on her crown just before stepping on the stage. She squinted in the glare.
“Hiho, I am the mayfly!” whispered Miss Charterton from the prompt corner.
Jenny-Lee scratched at her forehead, where her third eye would be, were she truly a mayfly. She shook her wings, so secure against her back. She felt quite suddenly that she might be able to soar.
Jacquelyn Bengfort was born in North Dakota, educated at the U.S. Naval Academy and Oxford University, and now resides in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Gargoyle, Storm Cellar, District Lines, matchbook, CHEAP POP, The Fem, and numerous anthologies, among other places. She was a finalist for SmokeLong Quarterly‘s 2017 Kathy Fish Fellowship and The Iowa Review’s 2016 Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans. Find her online at www.JaciB.com.