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The Cockroaches

April 25, 2013

by Ann E. Michael

This community carries itself on the hard backs of its citizens’
scented sweet chemical juiciness, soft interiors,
specific paths followed nocturnally, searching—
food and water, moistness of drainpipes and mildewed
crawlspaces and crumbling lath and drywall gone damp
with condensation, accumulated dust, oil, grease, the goo
primordial: life’s messy elixir, delicious. Who could pass up
such opportunity? Someone had to grab that fetid niche,
multiply the night, fill the humid dark with liveliness and,
on six swift legs, just run with it.

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Although Ann E. Michael (website, blog) hasn’t lived in a city for years, she has dwelt in apartments in New York, Philadelphia, and Grand Rapids, Michigan in the past. Her most recent book of poetry is Water-Rites.

  1. Steve T.
    April 25, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Wonderful sounds: great phrases (“life’s messy elixir” “grab that fetid niche”) to name just two and such a punch of a last line. Thanks for this poem!

  2. April 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you. Most of the comments I get on this poem are of the “ew, gross!” variety!!

  3. Steve T.
    April 30, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Well, I’ve been working on a series of bug poems and I hadn’t yet written of cockroaches. I like how so well blended the science and the poetry. And for those who comment “ew gross!” they just don’t appreciate the small critters around us :)

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