Poetry

“The Locusts” by Jayne Pupek.

The need for seclusion draws locusts into my house.
They crawl through warped floorboards

and windows cracked by boys with stones.
Some settle on plates left in the sink to dry.

Others crawl along the room’s periphery,
searching for open shoes and baskets of yarn.

Away from mates, none rub wing against thorax
or seek the wet undersides of leaves.

In my childhood home, intruders belonged to men.
The escaped convict cannot lock you in the closet

if daddy owns a gun. My lover snoozes upstairs,
dreaming of red-eyed women with iridescent nipples

and thread-thin appendages kneading his oily back.
Why disturb him? I’m a woman who asks nothing,

a woman with a knack for surviving godless nights.
I refuse to pray in the face of demons or plagues.

Notes play inside my head, crossing synapses
with a flat gray twinkle, a drizzle of rain. One by one,

I drown uninvited guests in a glass of water left on my piano.
I open my mouth, swallow wings, and sing a-capella.

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