BUGS 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.