Vacuuming the Beetles

Hundreds of ladybugs huddle together
in clumps in the corners where wall
& ceiling meet. I point the black tube
like a magic wand, a reverse rifle,
& the beetles disappear with the briefest of rattles
down the vacuum’s plastic throat.

This is nothing like hunting.
There’s no meditative wait, no tense silence
or rush of adrenaline. Snuffing out
these home invaders, I feel nothing.
I am alone with the sound of the cleaner,
which cancels out every competing thought.

If there were sound in space, a star
might howl like this when it collapsed:
detritus from the ceiling, meet
the detritus from the floor. Bright
clot of color, flame,
here’s a sackful of dust in which to gutter.

The acrid stench of alarm pheromones
grows stronger & stronger, & my stomach heaves
with sudden nausea, the body’s impulse
to rid itself of itself,
starting with the most recent foreign matter.

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