Fall 2019 / Poetry 2019 / Volume 50

Earwigs  By: David Starkey

Lately, they have been crawling into my brain.

They burrow deeply into its warm moist rot.


What does it feel like, the doctors ask?

Well, like someone whispering a secret


in a language I don’t understand, or like wind

at the end of the pier on a cold March morning.


Sometimes, I feel bigger than normal,

as though the earwigs had imparted some


of their legendary wisdom. Other days, though,

I hunch up into a ball under the covers,


like a creature that understands daylight

is the cause of all its problems—look


at that beak plunging from the sun,

ready to swallow me without a thought!

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