looked up in to sky

saw there

her future

we are cockroaches

she told her husband that evening at dinner

as he sat trying to eat fast so he could check his messages

annoyed and perpetually irritated with her queries and words

he wished momentarily he could seal her in an Amazon Prime box

and return her with a free print it yourself label

if only marriage were as easy as that to dissolve

okay I’ll take the bait, why are we cockroaches?

he replied eventually with a weary voice, if only to get her to stop

standing with wet hands from washing in the kitchen center

unaware of how absurd and unattractive she was

with her rolled shoulders and sagging bust line

why can’t she look like the girls I subscribe to?

a lazy thought passed behind his eyes as he vainly tried

and failed

to show a modicum of interest

we are cockroaches she repeated

her face blazing underneath the low hanging light fixture

he’d installed badly

because bees and frogs and bats

if they die out we all go


She slapped her red hands together making a strange squelching sound

her lips twitching oddly

But if we

with our Sistine chapels, Leonardo’s

drive-in Sonic Burger, Schlitterbahn water parks

Round-Up, teenage sized tampons and driverless cars

if we die … IF WE DIE!

Her voice raised an octave and dominated the quiet room

he thought her shrill and unbearable

a streak of sweat

began to gnaw at his calf as it ran slowly toward his socks

socks she had to bleach after he left them unwashed and yellowed in his cupboard

resisting the urge to itch he tried to stay motionless, could it be if he blinked she would be gone?


But if we live … as we live … when we have lived

such a short time comparatively if you think

watch the years before us, long and steady

now watch the timeline unruffled by menace

as we come into being that trajectory takes on an awful shape

the shape of destruction! Not only will nothing happen to every other living thing

on earth if we are not here to witness it

but the damage we have wrought in such a short time!

so much damage!

we breed animals and slaughter them inhumanely in abattoirs

we condemn Nazi’s for gassing Jews and gypsies

but how are some of our actions so different?

we deny basic healthcare to our most vulnerable citizens

and call ourselves progressive or worse

blame those who are not able

to defend themselves

He wiped his face with his meaty hand; This isn’t going to be another vegetarian rant is it?

rubbing the sweat from underneath his eyes

it seemed to be getting very hot in the room

there wasn’t any chilli in dinner was there? He asked as

something seemed to stick quite determinedly in his throat

feeling nauseous he reached for the glass of water

it looked like it was sweating too

the room was too hot

turn the damn air conditioning up he raised his voice and began

to sound as shrill as she had

you know nothing you say will stop me eating meat

and I don’t agree with you but then thinking about it

I rarely do

you care about abstracts

you point to diagrams that show ‘evolutionary’ destruction at the hands of humanity

and even if this is so

look at our progress

look at our knowledge

What knowledge? What mercy?

We still can’t cure the common cold

she retorted with her back turned to him

she appeared to be drying the dishes he couldn’t remember giving her

the room was spinning

I don’t feel well, he said

lurching slightly in place

I wouldn’t think you would

she replied, he could not see her face

only the stains of sweat underneath her thick arms

reaching around like hands behind her

you always felt animals were equal to us and they just aren’t

he tried to modulate his voice but it had grown


as if he were contained within glass being slowly


like a spider you find in the tall grass and collect

for Monday’s school project

I don’t feel well, he repeated

his eyes rolling in their waxy sockets, his tongue lolling


that would be the castor bean oil

I mixed it into your dinner

she said

as calm as if she were saying out loud

Sunday’s grocery list or tonight’s TV programming

and shutting the kitchen door

she left her husband

who by now was unable to speak

a small mercy for them both

and taking off her house slippers she stepped out

into the back where the mature trees reached high into the night

and began

very purposely and with great care

to dig a hole

deep enough to bury

a cockroach


85 thoughts on “Cockroach

  1. Oh Wow.. did not expect that twist in the end of this Womans speech of why we humans would not be missed in the eternal scheme of things.. had to chuckle though.. at the irony of it.. ❀ πŸ™‚ Enjoy your bug free weekend.. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I suppose I used humor because the truth is I believe what the character says, about humans and how we do more harm than good overall in the grand scheme, not invalidating us but yes, we ought to see how fragile OUR use is in this world compared to say, the humble bee or frog. *climbs daintily off her soapbox*

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  2. Weird, humorous and a little scary…and yet I can see deeper messages in this story: our search for greater meaning; the conflict between desires and comfort; the insignificance of our lives; the absurdities of social conventions.

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  3. Very powerful and of course I agree with the underlying message in your poem. It comes through loud and clear, which it should do. Humans are the greatest threat to the survival of Gaia – nature, beauty, life on this planet. Humanity is digging it’s own grave with its short-sighted exploitations and lack of respect for all other life forms besides our own. (Yikes, now you’ve succeeded in getting me on my own soapbox! πŸ˜‚ ) Anyway, great poem story, Candice. Thank you for being that voice the world needs to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m painting our mutual soapbox, believe me you will like it even more! πŸ˜‰ Seriously, I recall seeing a documentary where they showed a line of all the time earth has existed with life, and how most of that line has been fairly consistent and undamaged, certainly from other species, and only by meteors et al, and then BAM! Humanity in such a brief spell comparatively, has wrought chaos! I have friends who would deny this, though I know not how anyone could! At times I feel we are the cockroach. Of course there is more to us, much more, but at times, it’s hard to see that. I do wish more would consider less glorification of humanity and more accountability, after all, what do we give back? Thank you dear one, for your kind and appreciated words.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw the same documentary (or various similar ones). Our current civilization is so arrogant. I’ve known people who insist that other life forms don’t feel pain or fear! This is unbelievable to me. And some of those who’re a little smarter about this just don’t care. They think it’s fine to kill animals (as trophies!) even while they’re in dens with babies, or are hibernating. Alas, I could rant on and on…. But it’s the reason I identify with the philosophy of our Native Americans and suspect I have their blood running through my veins. They respected all life, all of nature and considered themselves one with nature. Our modern world has separated itself and is now in the process of destroying our Home. We soil our own nest. Even birds know better than to do that. Ack! I think you’d better enlarge that soapbox! 😱

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So well said. Total agreement. A bit like climate change denial. I’m all for seeing it’s not black and white, but to completely deny it, well that I find impossible to relate to. I wonder what the real agenda is? Greed probably isn’t it always? But nevertheless don’t they think about their children or grandchildren? Don’t they care what happens to them? Or do they figure, well we’re immune to it, because we have … power/money – yet nobody is immune to climate change or for that matter, the detriment of not being a good part of nature, it all comes back on us one way or another (disease) and we actually could change it, as you say, native american’s had the right idea – totally agree with that wish I had their blood like you do! Good blood! Let’s build a second story to the soap box and invite others! πŸ˜‰ xo

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Amen to that! (Not positive about the bloodline – would like to get the DNA test. But I’ve had dreams and visions which suggest it. Maybe a past life…). But anyway – those I know personally who don’t believe in climate change – it’s their religious beliefs. They can’t think for themselves and deny the science of it. I heard one woman say that only God can change the climate. Really?? Hearing stuff like that makes my heart hurt and my skin crawl. And yeah, the earth is flat and was literally created in 7 days and on and on. Augh!!! There’s no reasoning with such……. And yeah, there’s also a lot of politics and greed involved. I do fear for future generations…our youth. Though I’ve also heard some encouraging things about the younger ones growing up today. Many seem to have been born with a raised consciousness, with more innate compassion and generosity. Perhaps there is hope…….


    1. Ah good question. Sometimes I think the very best of us will never inherit the earth but would rather leave it to the evil ones who seem to thrive here, other times I think biblically despite not being religious, that karma will take care of everything. Not sure what side of the fence I’m on. But I do believe you get back what you put out. You are good – so good will come back to you. Sometimes it takes its sweet time getting there! xoxoxo

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  4. The entire time I kept thinking “please bash him over the head with a pan at some point in this”” YES to the ending!!!!!! Well the whole thing was ofcourse superb!!! Must reblog this beaut

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was brilliant. At mention of castor bean oil (used to make Ricin), I was reminded of a similar scene from Breaking Bad.
    But this was far more haunting. Loved it, and love the idea of one less cockroach in the world too…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I think I first read about Ricin in a Roald Dahl novel, forget which, maybe from Kiss Kiss? But I loved Breaking Bad and you are so right! Thank you so much! Here’s to one less cockroach, human or otherwise πŸ˜‰ Thank you Gabe x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my friend, I loved your use of vicious, that’s exactly the tenor I was attempting and yes, I confess I am a huge Roald Dahl fan, mostly for My Uncle Oswold, Kiss Kiss, Over To You. Who writes like that anymore? When I heard he was not over-fond of children and everyone was aghast I thought … haven’t you READ him? Of course he is! That’s what makes him so good! I am fairly sure I would not bury a husband, wife or nay, even a lover, unless really pushed to do so, maybe if they ate the last of the rhubarb pie, that might do it πŸ˜‰ (thank you thank you thank you)


      1. It was most unlike me, but I shall try to return to that state of being. If you see me on the news being handcuffed it’s all your fault πŸ˜‰ Seriously though, Tales of the Unexpected was penned by him also wasn’t it? Such a dark mind … delicious

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I like a boatload of what you write also, but I don’t have internet anymore, so no time to just browse and enjoy. I fired both AT&T and Verizon…lol greedy b’s… thanks for the lovely comments tho, I’ll try to hit your site at hot spots, along with the other 20 or so… πŸ™‚ tc


    1. Thank you darling girl, it was a bit Tales of the Unexpected wasn’t it? Different for me, more like my novel. I should send it to you but you might hate it so I can’t πŸ˜‰ Anyway … sorry I’ve been absent been really sick with a stomach bug or something. Sending you so much love to the most beautiful girl I know inside and out. PS NOT LONG NOW is it? ARGHHHH! Get ready!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope you’re feeling better, lovely special one. As if I could possibly hate anything you wrote! And anyway, I loved THIS so by your own admission I would like the novel too?
        Yes I know I can’t wait! We are going to MELT our phones with messages about it, I can feel it πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’d better be my main dragon-girl for it, because you totally made me die laughing the last time, you are hilarious, and few manage to be beautiful AND hilarious, so brava my twin


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