Contents | December 2003
More on poetry from The Atlantic Monthly.
The Atlantic Monthly | December 2003
Hear the author read this poem (in RealAudio)
by J. Allyn Rosser
The shockingly green, gold, and red beetle—
too petite for a June bug, with greater iridescence
and a delicacy of limb and feeler
unprecedented in the insect kingdom—
walks up her palm to the inside of her wrist.
"I must show this bug to that boy,"
she says of a sulking pre-adolescent
I've peripherally watched abuse
the for-toddlers-only rocking horses
on their rusty springs.
He is the wrong boy.
The beetle, sensing danger, flies off
before I have to make excuses
for the boy's inevitably sour
or mocking or violent response.
Yes, the beetle flies away,
probably wanting his mom to make him lunch,
we decide, heading for the car,
but the boy has noticed her glances,
her interest, watches her with a malevolence
I hope I'm imagining. He waits,
and will be there again tomorrow
or next week, and she will approach
with her wistful only-child smile,
her delighting eyes,
to show him something else.
J. Allyn Rosser's latest collection is Misery Prefigured (2001). Rosser teaches at Ohio Univeristy.
Copyright © 2003 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; December 2003; Municipal Playground; Volume 292, No. 5; 104.