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NEW PET

The cockroach is trying to understand. I have just shut it in the space between the window pane and screen.

It scuttles, quivering its antennae, assessing its situation.

I think “I am someone with a cockroach in her house.” I think of other people with better houses with no cockroaches.

This cockroach is my teacher. Sensei never stops moving. It climbs to the top of the screen, falls to the base of the sill, then crawls back up to the top.

Orkin.com says male cockroaches have a pair of “styli” located between the “cerci,” words framed from the minds of ancient Mediterraneans.  

It presses all six legs against the glass.

In the garden beyond the window, I see an orange tiger lily atop its five-foot stalk. It is summer in New York and life wants to live.

Its antennae are twirling wildly now.

I think “Poetry breathes the body of language.” Then I think “This is not poetry.”

Who is winning, me or the cockroach?

Obviously, I should consult Kafka.

I learn “American cockroaches live for approximately one year.” A cockroach's life is the length of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The cockroach has wings! They are backlit! Translucent!

Maybe beauty isn’t what we think we need it to be. 

Maybe beauty is something impossible to anticipate.

[August 2016]