Last summer, while on a run rounding towards home, I began noticing these bugs that had bodies similar to ants, except they were silver and had wings. I didn’t think much of them, but the closer I came to my house, the more of these flying creatures I saw.
“More” is a conservative term. “Plague” might better describe the cloud of bugs that hovered in my backyard.
“WHAT IS HAPPENING?” I screamed to Jesse, who was standing in the middle of our yard with a plastic bowl and a jar of cayenne pepper. “WHY ARE THEY HERE?” I screeched. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
If anyone is wondering if I can take an already tense situation and level up, wonder no more. I can make preparing instant pudding dramatic.
“WE HAVE THESE BUGS,” Jesse told me, also yelling, which makes it sound as if the bugs were loud, when in fact, they were making no noise at all. “YES! I SEE THAT,” I said, swatting at them —a futile effort. “WHY?” They had not been there when I left less than an hour ago.
“I was trying to stop Corby from digging holes in the yard,” Jesse said.
“And you brought in bugs to help you with this?”
Jesse is not a violent man, but I do think that for just a second he found a bit of satisfaction imagining dousing me with cayenne pepper.
He explained that the bugs emerged from one of the (many) holes Corby dug in our yard.
“So I sprinkled cayenne pepper in the hole and then poured boiling water down it,” he told me while also going through the motions of what he did — like a sports replay. “And now they’re everywhere!”
“Because you smoked them out,” I said. “They told all their friends and family and now they are LITERALLY flying the coop.”
I looked at the ground, and I am telling you the absolute truth when I write that it was moving. You know those moving sidewalks at the airport? That’s exactly what this was. Probably the bugs could’ve carried me somewhere if they hadn’t been fighting the Great Cayenne Battle of 2020.
Meanwhile Corby, our dog of perhaps three weeks at that time, was off digging her 200th hole in our backyard.
This was almost a year ago, and while we’ve not see these bugs since that day (they’ve probably warned their species to stay away from the spice fest that is our home), I’ve been considering all that’s been dug up that was safe underground. I am considering all of us who’ve felt the heat of change along with the desire to keep living, though we are burned, though we know we are not safe, we still want to reveal ourselves and fly into the world we love.
This week write a poem about what’s been dug up since the pandemic.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s Poetry Prompt. Here’s one from Laura Lynn Brown that we enjoyed:
Thank goodness for smell,
the breath of coffee in an upstairs bedroom
that says someone is awake downstairs,
the ahem of oil in the pan
to the desk around the corner
I’m too hot and that egg on the counter
isn’t going to break itself,
the unapologetic earthiness
of a short-haired soulful dog
on the jeans he leaned against,
the kiss of lavender
on the hand that strokes it.
Browse other poetry prompts
If you have ever been in 8th grade, fallen in love, had a best friend, or loved reading, you will love this book. As the mother of an 8th grader, my other genuine hope is that my son will one day have a teacher as gifted as Callie.