Ode to the Tiny, Red, Stupid Bugs That Cluster on My Mailbox
Blind to danger and to neglect, you pack yourselves
onto the edges of your metal lawn and wait.
Even checking the mail is a risk you’ll be crushed
by the news within, eager as a moth, stubborn as a fly,
confident nothing ever dies but is yet transmogrified.
A bright red stain on aluminum. A scarlet splotch on skin.
I did not kill it, officer. There is no proof I’m him.
O slapped-together insect, O first try at grace,
O leaf-footed bug nymph you have no beauty to erase.
Your black-wire limbs are a jeweler’s creation:
two seconds’ work, waste materials unwasted
into a toy for kids. Lost beneath the couch, no one cares,
but under there lie all your ancestors, their husked lives
pleading for your appeal. O tiny, red, and stupid!
O bright ignorance! Your bodies gem the landscape.
Your flesh fuels the hearts of birds.
Ode to the Male Honeybee
. . . and the few hundred fat male drones with big eyes whose sole purpose—so far as we know—is to have sex with the queen on her single mating flight and who, ultimately, as winter approaches and food resources dwindle, will be dragged from the hive by the workers, expelled to starve or, if resistant, stung to their death.
—Hugh Raffles, Insectopedia
Push yourselves into the air, O Cheap Blossoms, and flirt
with the dirt. For one purpose are you made, O One-Trick Honeys,
and for that matter you are fed, you are housed, you are suffered.
But when the going gets tough, O Wide-Eyed Fluff, the weak
shall inherit the earth. Sadly, there is no food there. You crowd
the brittle grass with your bodies, eager for what warmth you had no chance
to give. O Once-Treasured, your more resilient fellows follow you down,
their love-stung corpses a grand parade in honor of might’ve-been.
What did you expect, O Expendable Heart? Only a very few of you
would ever have had sex. Then, as with now, you would fall to your death.
Now, as with then, other hungry beasts crowd around. They teethe
your little limbs. Give it up! Give it up! They taste your honeyed breath.
Ode to the Love Bug
O Unthreatening Sex Fiend, climb your gendered body-twin
and strive to futurize. Four days alive (a little more
if male) is barely time enough for love, or even death.
But, O Fragile Gloves, how you throw your bodies into it!
In smokes of thousands, you dress the baking highway
and declare your passion to every passing glass. Do you see
yourself eternal? Even as you die, your angel-self in air
declares another love affair, and those two, too,
are crushed against the grill of this fine day. O girl, come with me
and love as only insects can. Let us be reborn
a hundred times an hour to fresh our faces to each other’s lips.
O Tiny Fuckers, teach us to let the world consume us.