blackbirdonline journalFall 2009  Vol. 8  No. 2
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Home Ownership and Self Defense

Since breakfast Mama and her badminton
racket have been making carpenter bees
pay with their lives for drilling egg caves
inside our cedar soffit. “Don’t control
the pests, they’ll eat you out of house and home,”
she says, swatting another. If they’d chosen
the springhouse or boarded-up privy,
they could tunnel those walls hollow and hum
till the cows come home, but necessity
is the mother of much slaughter. I doubt
what she’s doing is any more sin than
ringing a fryer’s neck or Shot out yonder
with a boar hog hung on the windless.
His raincoat’s so spattered, it’s like measles.
The denizens of this earth, according
to Augustine, pour forth from Him twofold:
as ideas in the angels but also in sensible
things, from seed and rock to petal, skunk,
tire salesman and hail. Furry insects, as well,
and how fast we are devouring each other is,
I don’t doubt, part of the plan. The mortal
and the moral intertwine like the pattern
of a pair of bees swirling in a mating dance,
if that’s what they’re doing when they zip.
The natural often irritates and confounds,
but its essence is good, if not useful,
and often allows us seekers to fathom evil,
which is absence and distortion toward some
selfish end. Daily mass, weekly confession,
fig preserves for the Bishop, we do strive
for the right, and Mama is looking after me,
keeping our farm house sound, a sanctuary
where I can spend my days in some safety.
She does relish the role of my protector
and with her tally sheet tacked on the back
of the door says every spring she hopes
this will be the end of her acting Goliath
against the bees. We’ve read about his end!
A woman with regrets, as well as deadly aim,
she wonders if game hunters ask the same
or Shot with the mallet and gleamy cleaver
or even the Peach State’s volt chair operator.
“It is natural,” she adds, the law of survival,
but whilst knocking them like shuttlecocks,
she ponders the question: do even insects
suffer pain and regret? Given dominion,
you can’t afford much sentiment. Let’s hope
that for zealous home defense and other
transgressions we’re all of us forgiven.
Swat: another one sent to insect Heaven!
Shot says, “Miz Regina is a force of nature,”
and Ed used to tell me, “That woman’s
a caution.” Truer words were never spoken.  end

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