The stink bugs had invaded the kitchen
With summer in flight
Flitting around like they do,
Whacking up against walls and windows.
The frosted bowl of the ceiling light
Is now an urn of upturned insect silhouettes
You kill them with a satisfying crunch
Under your shoe,
Or flicked with your nail,
Pressed between layers of junk mail,
Like an old catalog from J Crew.
The boy watching asked:
Could I get squished?
We paused, seeking
Clarification in our stunned silence.
Like that bug?
Well….maybe a wrecking ball….
Or a toppling wall.
An unfortunate end to a car chase.
My mind raced.
Yes you could, I thought.
But you won’t be, I said
You won’t get squished,
My little boy,
You’ll stay whole, body and soul
You’ll always fill your little space
I took the smashed flat carcass
Outside into the back yard.
I felt bad now, this needless death
(They don’t even sting or bite; they’re harmless)
But the odor takes your breath;
It had to be discarded.
I carried it deeper into the darkness,
Evanescent, ever diminished,
With the night closing in
Until all light seemed extinguished.
This is where it ought to have been relinquished.
The smells of the September yard mixed with its guts of coriander.
But I continued to meander
Along my meager patch of wet earth, .
Clutching the remnants of wings.
And as the night squeezed tight like tourniquets
There was the encompassing chorus of katydids and crickets
Flittering past like ashes.
A funeral canticle of the starless darkness.
I stood there alone, enclosed by cantilevered, bone-like branches