Animal or Insect



Native to South Dakota
four hundred years ago,
they could greet you
with a blood freezing rattle—
these musical venomous snakes.

Pity what was once a warning
after time made them targets 
for someone’s shotgun or shovel.

Pity evolution shrank their tail
for survival’s sake.
Will they lose their skin-piercing
sound  altogether some day?



That Would Be Hell

I never dreamt of killing so many pretty hornets—
colorful insects they are, still or hovering around—
so defenseless really in a world of man/machines.
If they would stop breeching the window screen
by my bed, serial killing would never enter my mind.

No babies, you can not buzz around my head.
Forget any ideas about dropping in my open mouth
as I sleep.
Building your nest in a closet corner
is unacceptable.
Forgive me, I would like to say

in their language, as I spray them out of the air— see
their dead bodies stuck to sticky white traps…crash
landings by the roach or two. Say, have you dreamt
the afterlife populated by all the bugs you’ve killed?




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