I was there the day
there trickled down the wall
of an old man’s room one roach
that stopped across
a canyon in the plaster till
the old man’s elevated slipper fell.
The roach absorbed the blow
and as though perforated for that purpose
dissolved into an archipelago.
The old man looked at me
and patiently explained, “Despite my
constant smacking of its brethren
one roach each day will trickle down that wall
and pause and pose as if to say,
‘Go ahead and smack me, that’s okay.’ ”
To take advantage of the archipelago at hand
the old man pointed toward the last palpitating island
and once again explained,
“Each roach I smack, you see,
offers me that same good-bye–
one last flicker of antennae.”
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