It seems as if I am constantly buying books of poetry and yet, I never have any in the house. It’s like some very literate burglar has been visiting my house on a regular schedule for the past decade or so. I searched again Friday and all I came up with is one anthology that I picked up at a library book sale, the one that needs a rubber band to hold it together. It has a low-rent plain orange cover that is free of any adornment. I believe the lack of illustration is what has saved it from my daughter’s (aka: the burglar’s) clutches.

I visited my daughter’s apartment, because she said it was clean and thus, a good day for a visit. Sure enough, her bookcase was full of many of my books. The good ones, too. When I found a book that I wanted to read, she tried to make me sign it out. This same child has in her refrigerator wasabi paste and Jagermeister. I vaguely remember the days of living only on booze and Rushdie.

I have been committed to organic gardening for all of my adult life. Part of this lifestyle is natural control of bugs. Spring is box elder bug season in my neck of the woods, so we’re seeing a lot of the little critters now. They are completely harmless, like having a million temporary pets, only better because they find their own food and water.

One of the black and red bugs dropped into my husband’s beer and drowned. It was, unfortunately, a newly opened beer. “That bug just cost me fifty cents,” my husband said. “I’m going to kill them all.” In order to avert mass extinction and contamination of my property with insecticide, I made the ultimate sacrifice.

“If I drink that bug, will you change your mind?”

“Maybe. Okay, yes. If you drink it.”

I had to really focus on how small it was, how inconsequential in size. They are no bigger than an Extra-Strength Tylenol, only with six wiggly legs. It was the thought of legs that slowed me down. I calmed my self, relaxed my throat and swigged that Miller until I felt the bug go down. No problem. It wasn’t until the next day that I remembered the Venus Flytrap that we had a few years ago. We fed each of that plant’s “mouths” a box elder bug and one by one they turned black and fell off. Of course, the whole plant died. I hope I don’t develop some kind of necrotizing gut disease; I don’t have any health insurance.

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