The Palmetto Bug is meant to die

roach, palmetto bugGross eh? I agree. Not my usual visual or post. In a creative writing class we were asked to write a poem about something we’d like to kill, a thing, an emotion and idea. Easy, the Palmetto bug, a longtime phobia after a few flew at my head at a friend’s house when I turned on her kitchen light at 2am to grab a drink of water.  

I could kill a Palmetto bug or a million

but for the horror that turns killer instinct to impotence,

calling my husband like the girl I am with crawling things

because I am woman hear me roar and whimper and run

when Palmetto bugs fly their dark brown armor wings

until they they close to crawl my wall,

creeping across my home,

squeezing flat shields underneath my

small spaces of hearth.

Disgusting invaders uninvited,

they hide in shadows and appear in light.

Vile creatures with droppings and amputated zig zag feet and feelers

I find left behind, limb tragedies of their kind.

I do not care.

Useless bugs that break my code

of insect ethics:

“Outside is their home, let them alone,
inside is my home, they will not roam.”

Kill the palmetto bug wherever they sit,

earthly leafy couches or my plush kind.

Destroy the bug who serves nothing for me

yet I am stopped with stupid fear for

they do not bite, they do not sting.

They have no purpose but to devour

rotting plants, these vultures of our vegetation.

Yet all our creatures inside earth’s rule

offer a job in our connected labor pool.

Killing one is harming all, eco dominoes

that inevitably fall.

Yet I do not think we will miss this bug

so they can die and go away, and earth’s green

scales will not wobble.

Mother Nature will not cry.

The Palmetto bug is meant to die.


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