Every morning the same drag of feet
across the same worn carpet—every morning
this stink bug perched beside the kitchen sink,
jagged back rising into pointed head.
How he’s made it this long I can only guess.
I leave drops of water on the counter
near the bronze leaf begonia
where I suspect he feasts and sleeps off
his slow skulking shenanigans.
It’s February worst month of the year,
the ground starved and cracked.
I’ve grown older and Valentine roses
stink of funeral parlor. The screen door
won’t latch, a broken hinge crying out
bangs same as the twig trapped
under an eve, hanging on for dear life,
while wind’s wet cough puckers
its sour mouth, spits words that have
no leverage, though its voice follows me
everywhere like a sad sack song.
This cloudy day bends every ray of light,
teases my skin like a lover.
I know the attraction of faraway things,
the ecstasy of memories, the smell
of my teenage skin—have had to learn boundaries,
be cagey, extra careful with my strategy,
busy with dreams—even on lordliest
days they haunt me, murmur beneath my skull.
It’s hard to trust a good thing these days,
yet every morning I see that slug bug
rise up, wait for dribbles,
time, a concept that hasn’t quite killed us,
each needling the other to live.