Cockroach

lady-insects-3Woman

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

BAM!

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?

If we die NOTHING HAPPENS!

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

distant

as if he were contained within glass being slowly

pressed

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

ungraciously

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

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