Archive for the ‘Insecta’ Category

Insecta: Notes on Contributors

January 9, 2008 Comments off

We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics.
—Bill Vaughan

As if seen through the prism of a fly’s eye, this multifaceted glimpse of creatures that have lived alongside us for millennia is qarrtsiluni‘s Insecta edition. Keen entomologists have not examined these insects with more love, fear, and respect than the poets, writers, photographers, and artists in these pages.

We asked our contributors to aspire to a final transformation of their work — to achieve what in insects is the fully-formed imago. We have not been disappointed. The range here is as vast and surprising as the difference between a delicate fairy-fly and a Goliath beetle. The flight paths of dragonflies meander above the sea, a litter of broken chitin and antennae drift across our rooms, and a weird scraping music fills the air.

Welcome to the Dominion of Insects.

—Ivy Alvarez and Marly Youmans


Mary Alexandra Agner (Pantoums and Persistence) has placed poems in Boxcar Poetry Review and Poemeleon, among others, as well as previously in qarrtsiluni.

Adam Aitken is an Australian writer based in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where he blogs at Adam in Cambodia. Read more about his background, current projects, and publication history at his website.

Ivy Alvarez (website, blog) is an Australian poet currently living in Cardiff, Wales. She’s the author of Mortal (Red Morning Press, 2006), and recently received grants from the Australia Council for the Arts and Academi to write poems for her second manuscript. In addition to poetry, she also writes plays, reviews and articles.

Emilie Zoey Baker (MySpace page [work alert: automatic audio player], atomic lady bomb) is the 2006 World Performance Poetry Cup champion. She’s been featured at many venues and festivals, including the 2007 Melbourne International Arts festival, The Melbourne Fringe, The Big Day Out, Broken Hill Poetry Festival and Mildura Writers festival. She has had work commissioned by the Melbourne Aquarium, the National Art Gallery Of Victoria and the Next Wave Festival. She has been published in Australia, the U.K., Germany and the USA and has appeared on ABC TV and radio. Her first book, She Wore the Sky on Her Shoulders, is out now through Hit And Miss Publications.

F. J. Bergmann lives in Wisconsin and at When she sits in the dark, she implodes.

Polly Blackley lives in Yorkshire. Her work has appeared in Smiths Knoll magazine, and she recently won a poetry competition run as part of the WEA Yorkshire and Humber’s Create07 Festival. She is a qarrtsiluni regular, with previous appearances in the Making Sense, Education, Short Shorts and Lies and Hiding issues.

Therese L. Broderick, MFA, is a freelance poet and teacher residing in Albany, New York, with her husband and daughter. Her poems have won national and local awards and have been published nationally and locally. Visit her “Ekphrasis” blog at

Chris Clarke is a California-based science and nature writer, and blogs at Creek Running North. His essay in this issue is adapted from a forthcoming book on Joshua trees. Previously on qarrtsiluni, a post from Creek Running North appeared in the Greatest Blog Hits issue.

Cynthia Cox (The Twitching Line) teaches high school English in Katy, TX. Her poems have appeared in various publications over the years, most recently in Cider Press Review, Albatross, and Epicenter magazine.

Natalie d’Arbeloff (Blaugustine) is a multinational artist and writer living in London. Her latest book is The God Interviews, which first appeared as a comic strip on her blog. Previous books and limited editions are shown on her website. This is her tenth appearance in qarrtsiluni.

Charles Dayton is an environmental lawyer who practiced in Minneapolis for 40 years. He led the fight in the 1970s to increase the Wilderness protection for the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and was named by the Minnesota Chapter of the Sierra Club as the Environmentalist of the Decade for that and other work. Since retirement in 2003, he has worked as a volunteer at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) on energy and global warming issues. He currently serves on the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group, appointed by Governor Pawlenty to develop policy recommendations for reducing Greenhouse Gases.

Clare Dudman keeps snails. She also has a passing interest in insects, although they are nowhere near as fascinating as snails. She lives in the UK, and has a website.

Michaela A. Gabriel (website, blog) is very grateful for her father’s photography and writing genes. When she is not out and about looking for that perfect picture or writing poetry, she is blogging, reading, watching movies, listening to music, or hanging out with her friends.

Arturo Lomas Garza is an Austin, Texas musician, PCB layout designer, video and audio producer and photographer. He blogs with Katherine Durham Oldmixon at Katudi Artists Collaboration, and his expertise in audio was sorely tested by the Flash player’s pickiness about sampling rates for Katherine’s MP3s in this issue.

Matt Hetherington is a musician and writer based in Preston, Melbourne. His latest collection is I Think We Have (Small Change Press, Brisbane, 2007). He is also on the board of the Australian Haiku Society, and his haiku can be found in the First and Second Australian Haiku Anthology.

Vicki Johnson A.K.A. Zephyr, blogs sitting at a window looking out on the garden. She also co-hosts the Ken Druse – REAL DIRT garden podcast.

Lucy Kempton (box elder) is British, living in France with husband and dog, sometimes teaching English. She also had photos in the Making Sense and Ekphrasis issues, but this was her first contribution to include poetry. Previously, she had described herself as “a displaced dilettante and prosaic spirit, who may yet entertain poetic angels unawares.”

Diane Kendig (website), a poet, writer, and translator, is author of three chapbooks, most recently Greatest Hits, 1978-2000 (Pudding House). Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in the journals Colere, Ekphrasis, the minnesota review, Mid-America, U.S. 1 and Slant, among others, as well as the anthologies Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn and Those Winter Sundays: Female Academics and their Working-Class Parents. A recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry, a Fulbright lectureship in translation, and a Yaddo Fellowship, she currently lives in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Mike Libby (Insect Lab) is a multi-disciplinary artist who makes highly detailed sculptures, models, collages and drawings. He has been in many solo and group exhibits, in Maine, throughout the US and Canada, and his work is housed in collections worldwide. “Through diverse materials and methodologies,” he says, “I explore themes of science, nature, fantasy, history and autobiography, highlighting illogical and acute correspondences between the real and unreal.”

Dana Guthrie Martin (My Gorgeous Somewhere) lives and writes in the Seattle area. Her poetry has appeared in Fence and is forthcoming in Canopic Jar. She will begin pursuing her MFA in creative writing at the University of Washington this January.

Leslie F. Miller (A Doggy’s Life) is a freelance writer living in Baltimore. She has won awards and grants for fiction and nonfiction, and her poetry has appeared in Kit-Cat Review, Yowl, High Horse, Sojourn, Attic, Maryland Poetry Review, and more. She has written a book about cake.

Jean Morris (tasting rhubarb) lives in London where she works as a university administrator and freelance editor and translator. A couple of years ago she began to rediscover a long-lost creative impulse through the inspiration of writers and photographers met online. She is a qarrtsiluni regular, with previous contributions appearing in the Ekphrasis, Come Outside, First Time, Greatest Blog Hits and Short Shorts issues.

Robbi Nester teaches composition classes to mostly unwilling freshmen at Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California.

Michael Nickels-Wisdom has been writing in haiku and related forms for 17 years, after discovering them while working in a public library. His work received an Honorable Mention award in 2007’s Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest, and has appeared in recent issues of Modern Haiku, as well as in the First Time issue of qarrtsiluni. He lives in Spring Grove, Illinois.

Alistair Noon lives in Berlin. His poetry, reviews and translations from German, Russian and Chinese are online at Litter, Shearsman, Nth Position, The Recusant, RealPoetik, Intercapillary Space and Cipher Journal. Alistair coordinates Poetry Hearings, the annual Berlin Festival of Poetry in English.

Katherine Durham Oldmixon is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Program at Huston-Tillotson, an historically Black university on Austin’s East Side. A poet active in the community, she also serves on the board of Texas Folklife, is the current president of Austin Poetry Society and is a Research Associate of the Humanities Institute of the University of Texas at Austin. She and Arturo Lomas Garza blog about their artistic projects, many of which are collaborations, at Katudi Artists Collaboration.

Christina Pacosz (webpage) has been writing and publishing prose and poetry for almost half a century and has several books of poetry, the most recent, Greatest Hits, 1975-2001 (Pudding House, 2002). She lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

C. H. Paquette (C. H. Paquette Photography, Wabi Blogi) is a designer, builder, gardener and photographer.

Andy Pokel is a student at St. Olaf College and is an active poet, performer, and comicker. He thanks God for a world in which art can exist to teach and heal us.

Cati Porter (blog) is the editor of Poemeleon: A Journal of Poetry, and associate editor for Babel. She has recent or forthcoming poems in kaleidowhirl, mamazine, Mannequin Envy, and Umbrella, as well as the anthologies White Ink: Poems on Mothers and Motherhood (Demeter Press), Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel – Second Floor (No Tell Books), and Letters to the World, the Wompo anthology (Red Hen Press). Her chapbook, small fruit songs, is forthcoming from Pudding House Publications.

Jayne Pupek (website, Notes on the Writing Life) holds an MA in counseling psychology and has spent most of her professional life in the field of mental health. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous print and online literary journals. Her work has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of one book of poems, Forms of Intercession (forthcoming from Mayapple Press, 2008) and two chapbooks: Local Girls (DeadMule, 2007) and Primitive (Pudding House Press, 2004). Her first novel, Tomato Girl, will be published by Algonquin in 2008. Jayne resides near Richmond, VA with her husband, two sons, and a menagerie of animal companions.

Monica Raymond is a prize-winning poet and playwright based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. She has taught writing at Harvard, the City University of New York, and the Boston Museum School. You can read an excerpt from her play The Owl Girl at the Massachusetts Cultural Council website.

Deb Scott (stoney moss) is a middle-aged tomboy living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and pets. Her poetry is published in MReview 2006 and 2007, and she manages ReadWritePoem, an online community poetry site. She loves bugs — not all of them, but most of them.

Shem is the pen name of a Rockford, Illinois-based writer/photographer. You can read him regularly at Fourteen Twenty, a scrapbook-style weblog of observations, topical commentary and intelligent discussions. You can also see more of his photography at his deviantART page.

Carolee Sherwood is poet, wife and mother (purposefully in that order when push comes to shove, which it sometimes does). She blogs at The Polka Dot Witch and is a collaborator in Read Write Poem and The Fertile Ground Poetry Project.

Andrew Shields’ latest publication is his second volume of translations of poems by the German poet Dieter M. Gräf, Tussi Research (Green Integer, 2007). He blogs at

Prize-winning photographer Anne Morrison Smyth (website) grew up in Ripton, Vermont and in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She moved to Belchertown in 1999 after living in Amherst for 30 years, where she raised her four children. Anne’s love for wildernesses of all kinds informs her work with an intimate, unflinching celebration of the diverse small realities that create a larger truth.

Paperweights by Paul J. Stankard (website) are in collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, the Victoria & Albert, Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, and many other major museums of the world. His portfolio in qarrtsiluni was solicited by guest editor Marly Youmans, who notes, “Paul Stankard is one of the world’s great artists in glass. His focus on botanical accuracy from root to flower transformed the medium of lampwork, moving it from craft to art. Many of his highly detailed works combine delicacy of observation and execution with dream elements like masks and root figures.” He has a new book of autobiographical essays, No Green Berries or Leaves: The Creative Journey of an Artist in Glass (McDonald & Woodward, 2007).

Jon Stone is the poetry editor of the roundtable review and part of the team behind Fuselit. His work has mostly been published in hot young things like Mimesis, The Wolf, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Toad in Mud (here and here), as well as in Bizarre magazine. He shares a website, Bandijcat, with Kirsten Irving.

Ray Succre currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and baby son. He tries hard. For inquiry, publication history, and information, visit him online [work alert: automatic audio player]. (Editor’s note: Ray has a much more interesting bio at his own site!)

Wendy Vardaman has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, and has poems, reviews, and interviews published or forthcoming in a variety of anthologies and journals, including Poet Lore, Main Street Rag, Nerve Cowboy, damselfly, Free Verse, Pivot, Wisconsin People & Ideas, Women’s Review of Books and Portland Review Literary Journal. She has received several Pushcart Prize nominations and was runner up in 2004 for the Council for Wisconsin Writers’ Lorine Niedecker Award.

Carey Wallace (alice) is a writer from Michigan, living in New York, and working on a new novel about the invention of the typewriter. Her story “The Stranger’s Club” appeared in the First Time issue.

Jonathan Wonham (Connaissances) was born in Glasgow in 1965. He currently works as a geologist in Paris where he assists with the editing of Upstairs at Duroc, an annual fiction and poetry magazine. His poetry has been published in Poetry Introduction 7 (Faber) and a number of other anthologies including Future Welcome (Moosehead Anthology 10) and Radio Waves (Enitharmon). He was interviewed by Ivy Alvarez for qarrtsiluni’s Science as Poetry issue.

A seventh book from Marly Youmans (website, blog), Val/Orson, is forthcoming from P. S. Publishing (U. K.) in 2008. Set among the tree sitters of California’s redwoods, the story takes its inspiration from the legendary tale of Valentine and Orson and the forest romances of Shakespeare. Her prior books are: Ingledove (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005); Claire (LSU Poetry Series, 2003); The Curse of the Raven Mocker (FSG, 2003); The Wolf Pit (FSG, 2001, winner of The Michael Shaara Award); Catherwood (FSG, 1996); and Little Jordan (David R. Godine, Publisher, 1995). As she is always playing tug-of-war between time for writing and the needs of a family with three children, she has entirely given up the mad, frolicksome habits that make reading these little biographies so interesting.

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Categories: Insecta


January 8, 2008 1 comment

nested in the disobedience of your hair.

—Austin Hummel, “Mirror, Mirror”

Sonnets lurked in your contumacious hair,
crawling the stressed tresses of your plaits;
waved their frilled amphiboles everywhere.
Jointed, scuttling things: eight metered plates
in each thorax; six more abdominal,
abominable segments; an excessive
sum of twitching legs and feet; aggressive,
protruding jaws; and what seemed nominal-
ly like a tail,
…………………..but wasn’t. When I suggested
you get yourself de-versified and ana-pested,
that iamb-dip might more likely be effective
than anti-dandruff shampoo, your invective
became somewhat intemperate and catty.
I still prefer your previous hairstyle — batty.

by F. J. Bergmann

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Flameworked Flowers and Insects

January 8, 2008 5 comments

A portfolio


I am interested in blending mysticism together with magical realism to suggest organic credibility. I celebrate nature’s continuum and her primal sanity in glass, hoping to share these feelings with the viewer. The poetry of Walt Whitman and the literature of James Joyce inform my art work.


Rose Bouquet
Rose Bouquet Orb with Figures and Damselfly, 2007, D. 5.5 inches


Morning Glory
Morning Glory Bouquet Orb with Blueberries and Honeybees, 2007, D. 3.5 inches


Swarming Honeybee Orb, 2006, D. 5.0 inches


Rose Mask
Tea Rose Bouquet Botanical with Mask, 2004, H. 5.5 inches


Tea Rose Botanical with Damselfly, 2004, H. 5.0″ x L. 2 1/4″ x W. 2 1/4″

by Paul J. Stankard

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At the Fiddler’s Convention

January 7, 2008 4 comments

In a field behind the stage, darkness rises from the grass
like distant music. Hard of hearing, blunt of sight,
I watch the stars unscroll their secret signs, while here
on earth, the fireflies begin their silent signaling.
Biologists declare Lampyridae’s insistent pulse,
as calm and regular as breath, to be “cold light”
because unlike the fire of sky or bulb, it generates
no heat. But this, while factual, cannot be true.
I witness now the quiet passion of a thousand sparks,
falling in desperate order like a scale, the measured
intervals of flash and counter-flash, telling particulars
of many lives. And while I know that this pursuit and pulse
says more of reproduction than of art, I think
of simple ganglia within my human brain.
What do they know beyond the business
of the moment, muscle’s twitch and synapse-
shock? But by the grace of their oblivious
connection, I catch the last few chords,
watch these green-gold lights, and parse
the pattern that contains this flight.

by Robbi Nester

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Twilight’s Twinning

January 6, 2008 10 comments

Northwest Arizona, c. 1965


Father .. says pick ’em off
when you see ’em crush ’em
under this big flat stained
rock or a shoe .. the spreading
mess haunted long before
Kafka’s moth found me

before this grown girl
admired the sweet scent
tomatoes hot in a backyard
desert sun .. Bright grass-green
mythic beast as long as my palm

lumbers among vines rising
a foot above my crown .. One
horn five yellow spots too many
legs cling tight under shady leaves
he hides and grazes at night


Steady, a scientist or a child follows hatching eggs
caterpillar larva bury selves as sarcophagus
pupa before their dusky flutters find petunias.
Who else understands a winged monster inhabits
all cells? Did my dry-land farming granddaddy
relish last light grace or did spots signal only harm?
We sacrifice a few succulent globes for magic.


I caught a humming bird
hovering over twilight
at Mother’s honeysuckle
Now .. I know it wasn’t but
Manduca quinquemaculata
transformed unknowingly
Insect hawk sipping nectar

by Deb Scott

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Moth and Rat

January 5, 2008 4 comments

Moth and rat
both gnawed holes in what was,
desperate appetite

that left
all garments holey. Moth and rat
knew no limit, would not

make a split
the dainty and the container

meant to contain it.
Sweat, blood,
cashmere, vicuña, alpaca,

fine Italian wool —
omnivorous and multicultural
were moth and rat.

If you would steel
yourself against incursion
tooth and claw, bore and bezel —

if you would live
as metal, robot skin
impervious to dust or fission,

well, you must find
that route alone.
Even bone’s permeable

and my skin
pitted with beings
trying to get out or in,

leaving their stingers, cursed,
blessed, in my flesh
till I am dressed

in the milkweed cloth
they have left me,
tit for tat:

sucking my sweetness
as I sucked the fat
dew and honey, the sap,

grass blades
where the sky showed through.
Filigree’s my map.

And what they did for me
I can do for you —
rat and moth, moth and rat.

by Monica Raymond

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Death Bugs

January 4, 2008 4 comments
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Cemetery, 1793

January 3, 2008 1 comment

I run the bath, Charlotte,
and write in my diary, Charlotte,
where my days are numbered, Charlotte,
and I consider the corpses

The shell of a whiskered wasp
on my windowsill
where I kept it trapped by blowing at it,
thinking it to be your messenger,
come to say you do not love me

The shattered stain of a moth
on the splinters and black veins
of the windowframe.
I caught it and crushed it
when it tried to come through,
mistaking it for your hovering
moussaline mouth,
trying to invite me
out into the frost, to fall and make
scorched earth of my knees

The dried, balled woodlice
by the skirting board
I thought to be your beauty spots
brushed off in your haste
to disappear completely
when you heard me on the landing,

The spider now drowned
in the running water, a snip of your hair,
as if you meant to say,
“Jean-Paul, you said you wanted me,
but if you insist on locking me out,
all you’ll have is this lock.”

I have run the bath, Charlotte,
and wait with my dead army and diary,
I wish you’d join me, Charlotte,
I have need of your company

by Jon Stone

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Last Day of Summer

January 2, 2008 Comments off

Would this be the last day of summer? There was certainly a bite in the air that hadn’t been there before. But still, the sun shone, and the sky was almost clear. Tobias stretched out and closed his eyes, listening. It was there again: that rattle. An odd sound, a little too delicate to be a baby’s toy, overhead, then to the side, away to his left and then right fading away and now coming back, louder and louder, overhead, close …

He opened his eyes; fluttering above him was an angel-insect — with sparkly transparent wings, a brightly beaded body and a long tail that bulged at the end.

He reached up but it swept away from him. It was large, larger than his hand (although his hand was quite small), and quite the most magnificent thing Tobias could remember seeing in the whole of his short life. He eased himself up slowly.

‘What are you?’ he murmured, but the creature didn’t answer. It swung its tail (which rattled softly) and darted away towards the bottom of the field. Tobias followed.

At the stile, the insect paused (beating its wings quickly to hover) and waited until Tobias had gingerly dropped onto the other side before flying on again. The rattling faded and the boy ran after it, anxious not to lose it. The sound had become rhythmical and compelling; setting off something that pulsed from his brain into his backbone and then twitched his arms and legs. His breath came in pants, and then his heart seemed to take up the beat. When the insect slowed, Tobias did too. They were linked, he realised, utterly and absolutely. Over the length of the field, they had come to depend on each other. If one stopped, the other one would too.

At the end of the field was a copse of widely spaced trees and then, in the middle of this, a small pond. The creature and the boy stopped. Tobias looked around, his head cranking in time on the pole of his neck as if controlled by gears. He had been in this wood many times but had never before encountered this water. A couple of ducks skimmed across the surface and quacked a greeting, while a single swan gave him a gentle hissy warning not to come close. In the middle of the pond was a small island with a grove of trees. The creature still rattled. It circled twice as if impatient, then darted forward over the water. Tobias stumbled over something in front of him. Hidden in the long grass was a small one-man boat, round and made of skins over a wooden frame. It was light to move and soon he had it floating in front of him on the water.

The creature was pleased. Colours rippled along its ridged back (pinks and then reds and purples). Tobias stepped in and the boat began to drift on its own. He picked up the oars and tried to paddle but he had never done such a thing before and for a few seconds, he struggled. The insect came closer and its rhythm louder and soon he dipped in the blades in time. Above him, the angel rattled its tail in applause and the boy smiled back. But a small cold breeze rippled the water and the sun hid briefly behind a cloud. Autumn soon, the boy thought, and his nose caught the transient whiff of a bonfire.

The island was quieter than the water. Someone had been clearing the scrub and the heavy scent of wood smoke still rose from the ground around him, although the place seemed deserted now. There was too little air; for a few seconds, Tobias struggled to breathe but the insect’s rattle soothed him. It was softer now, more like a whisper; take heart, it said, then: Follow me. So he picked his way between small patches of blackened undergrowth until he reached a broad flat rock. Sit. Was it talking now? He thought perhaps it was. Sit. No, there was no voice, just a thought that became his own desire. He sat and the beat of the rattle grew slower and closer. He couldn’t remember shutting his eyes but they were shut now. He couldn’t remember lying down but now he could feel the rock against his back, his arms and his head. The rock was hot, as if something had warmed it beneath. Even though his eyes were shut, he knew it had become darker. A light rain fell around him sizzling as it hit the rock around him. Something tickled the hairs of his arm. His eyes snapped open. There was the creature sitting on his forearm, its head bent.

‘What are you?’ Tobias asked drowsily and the insect looked up. Their eyes met. On the end of the insect’s body was a perfect human face. It was young, sad and dark-eyed. ‘Who are you?’ he cried out, but still the creature didn’t answer. She shook her head mournfully and minute tears sprang from her eyes and scattered in the air around her. ‘I need something from you,’ she said, then arched her head back, opened her mouth and bit down hard on his skin.

It stung like vinegar on a cut, and seared like a speck of boiling oil. Tobias screamed, flailed out and then leapt towards the water. He held his arm under the surface until the coldness made it numb, then brought it out and looked at it: there were two small holes and around them, the skin was red and swollen with poison.

The rain was coming down harder now. Tobias listened. The rattling was still there and once again he was drawn towards it. He came upon her quickly. He raised his foot to stamp on her but she turned her white face towards him and looked at him accusingly. Her wings were crushed and her body was black and bulging. ‘Pick me up.’ Her voice warbled like breath over pipes. ‘Over to the water.’

The wind was picking up now. He shivered. Why had he come so far without his coat? Reluctantly, he eased her onto his hand. The rattle was becoming fainter. At the water’s edge, he gently put her down. She leapt forward and lay on the surface of the pond, her tail still twitching. Then, slowly, the water began to creep over her and dissolve her, and her black body and silvery wings were swept away until they were just pin-pricks of light drifting over the surface and the rattling became the beating of the waves.

But then, as Tobias watched, the specks of light stopped and began to wriggle towards him. He gathered them up in his hands. The creature’s children, he thought, and, in some way, his, too. Then, as the wind churned up the water and howled through the trees behind him, he let them go and they buried themselves in the mud.

by Clare Dudman

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Pandora’s Box, Afterward

January 2, 2008 2 comments

The box, unlike its appalling
contents, did not depart.
They screeched ecstatically,
whizzed, thumped into windows
and ricocheted off the walls.
They inserted themselves
cleverly into crannies,
while the box clenched
its hellgrammite claws.

The box sat quietly
on its haunches; ugly
pupa enclosing a larva,
budding nymph, waiting
for its carapace to split open
and the damp, wrinkled imago
to emerge. Hope unfurled
her transparent promises
to beat against the wind.
Of course she didn’t stay.

When she comes to tea,
she balances precariously
on the edge of the lid,
while tiny hands wave,
squeak, and swear happily
from under the sofa.

Hope can’t visit long,
but she always says
Goodbye; I had a lovely
time. Thank you for having
The discarded box
answers in its creaking voice.

by F. J. Bergmann

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