For rows of sun-buttered, glistening corn, red and green trimmed vines of
wrapping themselves around silvery rusted poles, thick fields of gummy
tangled thrusts of okra and lean stalks of string beans, plump pumpkins
and cantaloupe, they came.
Some think they rode over, camouflaged in the beautiful, murderous
Others that we brought them here purposely, despite or unaware of their
hunger, like gems.
Papa called them pests, bastards, Japanese—beetles no different from
morning glories or Johnson
grass, or me puffing the fluffy seeds of dandelions.
Instead of apple orchards and irrigated fields, they discovered the waft of
from decapitated plastic, half-gallon jugs. I thought of the violent thistle’s
a bright hum seeping over everything, and tried to brush their jade-green
metal bodies back,
away from the jagged edges where they clung, pin-legged and resolute.
It was as if the whole world floated below them, in a clear poison,
On the swings, I remember feeling like a great mallard
soaring away, as chill September
dampness pressed my face.
I didn’t know to look down
at my mother waving from the turnstile,
disappearing, or my father
leaning precariously to slip a ring
over the winning bottle’s clear-green
neck. The cockled sun drowned
to a blank, and flat in the car’s back seat
I clung to my prize like any child.
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