Beetle Leaf-eating beetle

This poem, like most of my recent work, grew out of the garden, along with the greens and berries we’re harvesting now.

It entered my kitchen on a turnip leaf:
one round and perfect beetle
that I’d rather not steam
with the evening greens,
black as patent leather, gleaming,
small as a sesame seed
with legs.

Feathery antennae brush
the edge of my finger.
It retreats, knowing better
than to climb on
a pulsing, odiferous,
mountainous thing
that might eat it yet.

I catch it on a scrap
of paper, carry it out
and let it take wing
in my garden, into blue air
shattered by a fighter jet.

Someone young and arrogant
is practicing bombing runs,
practicing spraying other gardeners
and farmers in foreign lands
with Gatling guns.
From that height we all look like bugs.

Next week he’ll be deployed
but now he returns to base,
leaves me in peace but wishing I were less poor,
my powers less feeble,
wishing I could save more
than one small beetle.

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2 Responses to Airborne

  1. Corrinne May 30, 2016 at 12:49 am #

    Thank you for a very fitting tribute for the day.

    I don’t know if it is arrogance in that young soldier or more ignorance of the world and fear that they won’t otherwise find a way in it. Maybe some aspire to the position that will allow them arrogance and dominance and power to run things righteously, or maybe they don’t. I don’t know that any understand that choosing to step into the world of the military lens, they may forfeit their bodily choice to understand otherwise, as a means of defense and survival.

    The money is good and escape from family or small town often overwhelming. I don’t mean to preach. From that height, we all do look like bugs. When the most rewarding thing seems to be having your name at the top of the online WIN list at the equivalent of the penny arcade, and you want to take your girlfriend to a nice dinner along side of the movies, and not have to move back in with your Mom again, I am sure choices look limited.

    I came to your post thinking you were going to talk about cicadas, somehow. Man, do people want those critters to go away. Any thoughts on cyclacle bugs of an exceptionally pestulant nature? Another story, another poem, I say 🙂

    I am so glad to see such beautiful nature imagery this morning, plunking away on this iPad. I thought of Mary Oliver in the first stanza and now that reminds me of lesbian love lost and I am very grateful for your post, Martha! And grateful to learn, for me, that Mary Oliver may live in Florida, according to a Wikipedia scan–a very happy thing to know for us FLians of the moment, on this complicated holiday.

    Thanks and memories to you, as well,

    to/from another who is not one of the three monkeys

    C Alice unTurner

  2. Michael Enright June 1, 2016 at 5:31 am #

    That is s really nice poem Mattha.
    Thank you.

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