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

0 Replies to “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.. <3 πŸ™‚ Enjoy your bug free weekend.. xxx

    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*

  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.

  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.

    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.

      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! 😱

        1. 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

          1. 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…….

  4. This is amazing and powerful poetry. You wrote of real life and made the description understandable to the reader. I liked this one my friend.

    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

    1. I’m sorry! It was very much tongue-in-cheek I promise! I am not itching to get a shovel! It was more a parody or humor-bound version of things. Thank you dear Jupiter Girl for putting up with my eccentricities!

  5. Fitting analogy for our times. How blithely and blindly we impose our will on this planet without care of consequence … Great story C.ღ

  6. 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

  7. From seeming nothingness we come and into seem nothingness we pass, and yet somewhere in all the seeming madness there is purpose and rhyme and reason as imperceptible as it might seem πŸ™‚ <3

    1. Very true. This was definitely humor-bound (a rare thing for me but I do on occasion!) very Roald Dahl style, as I love his adult-work especially very dark-humor.

  8. 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…

    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

  9. What a powerful piece. It holds all the dark thoughts of a relationship that has been over for a long time but neither knew it until they were near the end.

    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

  10. lmao, I knew the minute you said it the second time, “we are cockroaches” that she was going to kill him. loved it! should’ve done it to my first x… thanks for the giggles.

      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!

      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˜‰

        1. 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

    1. Thank you so much both for reading this and commenting, it is very appreciated. Sorry for the late reply I have been feeling a little under the weather. Thank you again!

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