Author: Matthew Buterbaugh
From Backroads Vol. XXXX (2012)
I used to be human,
I know it, I felt it,
I swear when I crawled
my way to the mirror
these six scaly legs gave way
to fleshy, weak skin.
My thorax and exoskeleton shed,
I bloomed like a lotus
with cheeks, freckles,
blood-shot eyes and chin hair;
nothing out of place.
But I can barely recall.
My scratchy feet, used for adhering to flat surfaces
and scurrying from lights,
once held soft hands and caressed
equally soft cheeks.
When I look in the mirror now
I scar it with images of my cockroach life,
shatter it with screeches
from my mandibles.
My black almond eyes
peer into the nothingness that peers back
and my six scaly legs give way again
to weakness without flesh.
I have lived through many Armageddons,
come and gone through cracks in the floor,
eaten the crumbs
I begged for the crunching blow--
a soulless shoe sole of a great god--
to hold me between rubber and asphalt
yet still I crawl
up the side of the sink
asking the shiny oval that looks down on me.
How has the cockroach come so far?
© 2014 UPJ Backroads