Poem: On Watching a Silverfish Caught in a Bathtub | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Legs working frantically,
It attempts, yet again,
The smooth porcelain wall
Of its unexpected prison.
To no avail. An instant’s
Purchase will not hold
And it slides back,
As if pushed by a cruel hand,
into the pointless hollow
Of the endless bottom.

Rather like the wedding guest
Who can’t shake the ancient mariner,
Or rather, since “sadder and wiser”
Is at least something, more like depression.
It knows there is a world beyond,
And it so desires to join it.
Yet nothing changes
In its numbing entrapment.

Clever. It senses the pitch of the sides
Is gentler at the corner and it bends
Every effort there, probing with alert
Antennae, brilliantly sequencing its
Two dozen legs (imagine having to control
24 limbs). Obviously, we don’t really
Understand this creature as it is neither
Silver nor a fish. Its emotion is transparent.
It wants to be free, pausing, then attempting
The impossible over and over.

I crush it smartly (its severed legs still quiver
For a moment) with the bottom
Of a plastic bottle.
No one, after all,
Wants to bathe with a bug.

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