We used to clamber down the river on hands and knees—there weren’t any bugs then—
and sure, we used to dismember slugs and release their inner sleaze, and there weren’t any bugs
Once we stumbled down the slope of your rain-soaked, wooded acres to swim in your pond.
There were bats, and there was thunder, and our flashlight shot up the trees, but there weren’t
any bugs then.
Once we wobbled through Boston’s March cold without coats and shouted our early morning
and I bestowed upon you, dense as you are, half-joking cruelties, but at least there weren’t any
Once I found an earthworm and called him friend. I propped him on my slide
and left him, a tiny emperor in the sun. He baked, crisp nobility, and there weren’t any bugs
Our plans fell apart when we reached your pond. We watched the bats in silence,
waiting for just one of us to feel unashamed of our triple nudities; after all, there weren’t any
And after our trip through the cold, I hid in your room while you conversed with drunks,
and for a time, you know, I hated parties, but at least there weren’t any bugs then.
I don’t remember what I did with that tiny king, a question mark in his last moments,
but I suspect I swept him away without anything funerary, and, hey, there weren’t any bugs then.
Even now we crawl down the river on hands and knees through the mosquitoes that assault us,
and ah, but Riley, I suspect they are vengeful for my multitude of tiny brutalities although you
and I know there weren’t any bugs then.
This poem takes inspiration from Elizabeth Bishop’s “In The Waiting Room” a copy of which can be read here.
I did not sit in a dentist’s office,
struck by the potent arbitrary presence of humanity,
but rather I laid in bed,
cozy in a Strawberry Fields room.
Seven years old, I stared into my white ceiling,
contemplating the darkness of death,
of not existing at all.
She holds a thin string of glass between her fingers, sets the safety glasses on her nose, and freezes. The stunned faces around her mirror her own vacated expression as blood rolls into her eye. She blinks. She pulls the glass out of her eyebrow, pulls it straight until she can see the pointed end of it, sets it down, and takes off the safety glasses. She walks into the bathroom and begins to wash the blood away, but the near miss continues to drip. The teacher corrects her when he comes. He helps her stop the bleeding, and she watches his blue eyes as he stretches a bandage over her tiny wound.