April Prompts: Number 10

April Prompts: Number 10

Kari #4:  Something microscopic




Stems with branches simple or forked,

spreading or crowned.

Close-clung leaves in all their forms,

midribbed or not, toothed or not,

ribbed, folded or bordered.

Capsules in all their varieties:

hooded, lidded, puckered, reflexed.

No root, no flower, no seed,

some puff spores on breaths of breeze,

some make nests of eggs

to splash and hatch in place,

some brood branches break.

Drip water on dry moss

and watch the leaves unfold,

stems swell and sway.


As if that weren’t enough,

one late winter day, I watched

a scrap pulled from a rotting log

waken and fill with wet.

Oval mid-ribbed leaves

tight set. And as the leaves

unfurled, a tiny fly crawled

through my field of view:

one square inch, its world.


You have many flowers–
Our Lady’s Cushion, Our Lady’s Mantle,
Our Lady’s Shelter, Our Lady’s Shoes,
Sweet Mary, Mary’s Shawl,
Our Lady’s Fingers, Mary’s Gold–
but only one beetle.  Not yours,
these beetles turning my beanleaves to lace.
They belong to the devil.
What did you assume
I’d do about them?
I drown them and they stink.
I pinch them;  my fingers are sticky.
They are more in number
than the stars in the sky.
Pray for them, if you will, Mother of God,
now, and through the hours of their deaths.


. . .there is something that it is like to be a bat.
~Thomas Nagel

What is it like to be a swallow on a wire?
I gaze into the air, let go and float where insects hang.
I open my mouth to take one in.

What is it like in the earthy warmth
of a chipmunk hole, among nuts and seeds,
dirt and mold-smell clinging to my fur?

I am a wasp chewing an old fence post,
spitting out pulp to build the smothering nest
around my pampered and bloated queen,

a deer, my ears turned toward every whisper,
a porcupine shuffling through the forest, unconcerned.
Partridge–I am a great whirring, with open wings.

Horse eating wild apples and rolling in the dust.
Salamander trying to comprehend the road.
I am a bat.  I am a bat.  I think I am a bat.

No, Mary–imagination doesn’t count.
What is it like for a bat to be a bat,
a weasel to be itself, a whale,
the center of a swarm of bees.

Can you understand the limit of your mind?
Can you remember what it was like
to be a newborn human,
the undifferentiated world
sorting itself in your plastic brain?

Or do you even know what is it like to be you,
unconscious of nearly everything?



found in Insects Through the Seasons, by Gilbert Waldbauer

A male cecropia minutes
after escaping from his cocoon
A pair of cecropias mating
Honey bees inadvertently
pollinating mint blossoms as they forage for nectar
Vedalia beetles attacking cottony cushion scales
A newly molted dog day
cicada sitting above its nymphal skin
A male queen butterfly showering
a female’s antennae with an aphrodisiac dust
Male rhinoceros
beetles fighting over a female
Dragonflies copulating
A parasitic ichneumonid drilling
through wood to reach the sawfly
larva in which she will lay an egg
A female scarab beetle rolling a ball of dung
A worker bumble bee gathering pollen from a black-eyed Susan
A hover fly closely mimicking a yellowjacket wasp
An attacking blue
jay is startled by an io moth
A minor worker of the leaf-
cutter ant defending larger, leaf-
carrying worker from attack
A mantispid striking at a house fly
A hungry praying mantis striking at a small butterfly
A sphinx moth probing for nectar in the flower of a trumpet creeper
A nymphal dragonfly using its prehensile
lower lip to snatch a small fish
A cluster of southward-migrating monarchs resting on a branch
Weaver ants pulling two leaves together
A pileated woodpecker exposing
a large beetle grub under the bark of a tree
A white-footed
mouse chewing a hole in a polyphemus cocoon


What if the world is ending now?
What if the bees
are never coming back?

Garlic mustard is invading
everywhere. I can’t begin
to pull it all.

What if the maple trees
and earthworms
move away?

What if the sky
becomes a plastic dome?
I think the wars will never end.

I live in the country.
I have to drive everywhere.
What if all the wells run dry?

I’m making compost
out of everything.
I’m trying to write this poem.