Of Man and Roach

A cockroach crawls across the floor
Twitching this way and that,
Avoiding the movements of my shadow;
I trap him beneath a cup
And watch him spin around in circles
Trying to discover a way out
Of his prison. I stand and note in triumph
That there is no escape for him.

Where he is trapped is physical;
For me, fate is not so kind.
In my head, the glass is there, unwilling to
Move when I place my hands
Against it and push, for I have become a
Prisoner of my own thoughts
And must now retreat to a place where I
Can try to wear the glass thin.

I tower over this cockroach, mighty in
My physical presence, but no more:
He has no reason to become a sunken,
Nervous wreck despite his cage;
But me, though I once beat the discontentment
Down to a pulp, can feel it rise
Once more into the forefront of my mind
Where it threatens to remain.

As I move the glass and crush him with my foot,
I see myself crushed alongside him;
How strange that such a pest can remind me
Of my personal vulnerabilities.
Inside, I have a broken body too, which has
Crawled across the ground, in failed
Attempts to turn myself into a strong woman again.
And as he dies, in part so do I.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

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