Poetry Sunday: I Refuse to Report Bugs to Their Creator by Brayan Salinas

 I maintain that you can tell a lot about a person by their reaction to six- and eight-legged creatures. There are those who reflexively smash them without thinking and without regret. And then there are people like my daughters and me who carefully gather them up and release them. I do admit that I draw the line at cockroaches and fire ants, however. There are limits to my benevolence!  

I Refuse to Report Bugs to Their Creator

by Brayan Salinas

During roll call
a black beetle
wanders to the sink,
near my toothbrush,
and I say,
“Poor thing,
I better let you go.”

                                 My father says,
                                 “You better smash that thing
                                 before it multiplies.”
                                 I think he says the
                                 same about me.

I lie awake at night
and think
about crunchy leaves
crushed in the autumn.

                                 My mother sees
                                 six red ants
                                 running around
                                 the loaf of bread
                                 anticipating their breakfast.
                                 She says to me,
                                 “Get those things off
                                 the table.”

My sister panics
at the sight of a spider.
She runs to the kitchen
and screams bloody murder.
I remind her,
“We don’t find
scary things
scary anymore.”

                                 My mother flicks
                                 the grasshopper off  her book.
                                 She asks how I am doing.
                                 I lie to her
                                 and say,
                                 “I’m doing quite all right,
                                 I smashed a bug
                                 with my shoe.
                                 We all do
                                 what we don’t want to do.”

I see a cockroach
on the ground.
“Gregor,” I whisper,
“you better run fast.”
He says to me,
“I only need to run faster
than you.”


  1. I try my darnedest not to kill insects, but when it comes to mosquitoes the battle lines are drawn and I show no mercy!

  2. That is a really neat poem.

    It is different.

    It seems to be saying something about empathy that I am thinking about.

    1. It is definitely not what one might think of as a "typical" poem.

  3. Great poem. Yesterday I was telling my friend (confessing, I guess) that I draw the line at spiders because we get them in the house by the thousands and I don't like them in my bed. Then I told her about you and your feelings about spiders being our friends. She said she never has had a single bug in her apartment. I figure the management fumigates the building as probably a building code thing.

    1. Well, I don't imagine I would want them in my bed either, but spiders ARE our friends. They clear out a lot of less desirable bugs of the world.

  4. I'm usually one of the bug rescuers but we have had an increasing number of spiders for whatever reason, and I am not as tenderhearted with them anymore. Or ants - I've been bitten a time or two just minding my own business (we don't have fire ants here, fortunately) and I end up having to take benadryl. I did enjoy the poem - I'm definitely not a smasher.

    1. You are lucky not to have fire ants, but with global warming they will probably be moving farther north. They are well-named. Their bite burns like fire.

  5. Worst experience with insects: Cleaning up a neighbor's yard (evacuated) after Harvey and picked up (unknowingly) a fire ant nest.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Poetry Sunday: Don't Hesitate by Mary Oliver

Overboard by Sara Paretsky: A review

The Investigator by John Sandford: A review