BUGS, Bonnie Schell

by Bonnie Schell

When I was little,
I wanted bugs to like me
to feel at home taking a stroll
up my chubby arms and neck.
I wanted to be party to their small communications
to march and meet with them in the shade
summoned by telepathic hellos.
I wanted to have their skill at escaping
calamity, to swing in camouflage on a web.

When big people tell children to shut up, over 
and over, yell “Don’t talk back,”
on the one hundredth time, 
thunder over the continent
rattles all branches and ground.
The insects and spiders and beetles come forth 
to whisper in big hairy ears and those with pearl 
and rhinestone clips.  Big people stop
a minute, slap their ears to stop the tickle
while the bugs whisper in unison:  “Listen, Listen, Listen
You. Listen.” Big people push a thumb against the sound.

When it is safe, the bugs will crawl out
lay their intricate segments and wounded wings
across my lap.  Cumbersome, mouthy girl, 
I keep them safe and hum them well.

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