I am not afraid of obvious dangers; can appreciate
the snake, his contractions and curls, the calligraphic language
of his body in motion. Or the spider and her radial body,
her windowpane webs gathering gnats and beading the dew.
But you, what purpose do you serve besides ugliness,
lurking in lightless places, surviving my appointments
with the exterminator, my daily cleanings, my commitment not
to attract your kind. Last night I heard you whispering
through the air filter in my bedroom, the soft
and unmistakable grating of your wings like skin peeling,
like an unfolding letter of condolence, the black
almond of your head poking through a white slat,
just for a moment, then disappearing, continuing to scratch
inside the air shaft long after I went to bed.
In the morning I pulled the filter out of its frame,
found your crisp and iridescent body wedged into thick lint
and filter fibers. Radiation studies may negate
survival as what separates you and I, but it doesn’t matter.
I imagine you everywhere dark and unacceptable,
a raisin shell skittering over towels and spoons, like a haunt
across a grave, dragging your dark armor of indifference.