Ode to a Cockroach. By KJ Hannah Greenberg.


Little brown beggar, hobo of crumbs, unintentionally discarded pieces of kugel, also my missing lentils, why, when wiley ants, clever silverfish, and simple beetles flee, ever phobic of human-seized shoes, occasional toxic mists, minute traps, do you brazen kitchen counters, sinks, bathroom tiles? No borax-laced sugar cube deters your creeping.

I recall when you skulked up Aunt Stephanie’s chair, across her shoulders, and then through her wig, before jumping from those acrylic curls, the ones tightened too long across pink and lime green rollers, only to cavalierly land just past the bridge of her nose, rear legs first, in her precious, individually-portioned pot of onion soup. Upon noticing your unsubtle descent, Uncle Eddie, his head atilt from excessive much small talk, eyes closed against neighborhood gossip, harangues about open toothpaste tubes, and the unremitting, unpatterned screeching of six of my cousins, smiled from one corner of his mouth. He slit his lids a tad, moreover.

Thereafter, Sami, plus Julie, reached, palms down, to squash you. Eugene jumped up to find a jar. Tabatha screamed. JerriAnne screamed. Tracey whimpered as he backed away from the table. Aunt Stephanie, freshly thunderstruck, fell backwards, chair, false hair, plus the rest of her ill-conceived assemblage. Upon righting herself, she fled the room, waving her arms faster than sky-fastened ducks suddenly alerted to hunting season. She anchored at my house, where your relatives, the ones who had taken sanctuary within our walls, greeted her.


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