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New Pet

The cockroach is trying to understand. I have shut it in the space

between the window pane and screen. It scuttles, quivering its antennae, assessing the situation.

I think “I am someone with a cockroach in her house.” I think of other people with better houses where there are no cockroaches.

Its antennae are twirling wildly now.

This cockroach is my teacher. Sensei never stops moving. It loses hold of the screen, falls to the base of the sill, then crawls back to the top. It presses all six legs against the glass then licks its front legs like a dog.

I want to know whether the cockroach is female or male. says males have a pair of “styli” located between the “cerci” but the photograph does little to illuminate this anatomy.

In the garden beyond the window, I see an orange tiger lily atop its five-foot stalk. It is summer in New York and life wants to live.

I think “Poetry breathes the body of language.” Then I think “This is not poetry.”

Who is winning, me or the cockroach?

Obviously, I should consult Kafka.

I learn “American cockroaches live for approximately one year.” A cockroach’s life is the length of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The cockroach has wings! They are backlit! Translucence!

Maybe beauty isn’t what we think we need it to be.

Maybe beauty is something you can’t anticipate.