A poem by Adrian Patenaude


It’s August, but a June bug,
black almond on legs,
scuttles across the stage.
We rush out to squash it.

Unthinking, I snuff out a pixel-sized bug,
a life-force crawling on my computer screen.
I conceal the body in a tissue grave
and sanitize my hands.

On the news is a funeral of bees,
an accidental homicide with insecticide.
I recoil at squirming cockroaches
like a beggar without fingers.

Buddha said a human soul
dwells in a cloud of mosquitoes.
Distracted, we swat
at ancient brothers.


Published in The Shinnery Review (Spring 2014), The Mochila Review (Spring 2014), and Poetry from Texas College Students (2016).