Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Where Humans Live Roaches

The world is my dustpan, but I am not a cleaner.
The apartment gathers its ghost in dust. If I stay too long
in bed, I rise up through my own desiccated shell.

Cities are made for maggots, pale white and promising
a better life above the trashy streets. Or the city
is a huckster’s overcoat, all of us in individual pockets.

Under all this surface, the roaches live. They are clean
and they are cleaning up after us, their mandibles precise,
delicate. The roaches have individual names.

When the day comes, when drifts of dust tide in
to obscure our faces and our libraries, when that soft blanket
roughs out all our edges, the roaches, too, will leave.

For now, I watch their pilgrimage at night, faithfully
touching antennae to the fridge, the oven, the toilet.
When these crisp angels take wing, I swat them from the air.    

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