THE WATER BUG
by Luba Ostashevsky   The Water bugA large water bug lay at the entrance to the kitchen.
Its tentacles pointed up.
The sloped roof of its home was a boat run aground on the cold tan tile.The exterminator came on Saturday:
They could die here or they could go to other apartments and die there.I was coming from the bathroom,
the used tampon wrapped, from habit,
in several layers of toilet paper.Down it went to pick up the bug.Muffled clicks of a soft shell crumpling,
and then a red spot bloomed under my fingers,
spread through the tissue pile;
its walls wavered with the weight.I couldn’t see the bug but I knew it was under there,
drenched in the lining of my uterus,
having also emerged from a wall
into its last cavity,
and I pressed it to a pulp with paper that was once pulp itself.A tiny sceneThe bird in the clouds
fills the grey windshield
with an unpredictable ballet,
and it never ever leaves my view,
planted a mile up like a statue.Whether I’m late to work
or driving out of the city,
it follows me. From my side eye,
it is itty-bitty,but swallowed by my mind,
it is outsized,
wiping at the stains that won’t come out.What started as feelings
filter to thoughts,
up there anyhow, not even on purpose.I’ve inverted my eyes often
to have hard-earned reserve
caution with its asker’s remorse
flitting in the corner of the cranium.The mind has an endless energy source,
the self offers itself, to a fume.   How to get realImages get stuck.Thirty years later, I swear, it was because
one boy looked like my brother
that I thought I was in love with him.Everyone was paired up: boy girl, girl boy,
my parents and then my brother and me.Saying his name dumps coal in my lungs.
Not saying it made me want to make myself
less of a mass, less able to hurt, less alive.I long not to have to tuck mental pillows
into the metal chair where my feelings sit.Children learn by seeing – or mis-seeing—
if there is no one there to disabuse them
(a kind word that sounds mean).I want to talk about the moment
the story unsticks in your throat,
when you accept you are also to blame,what it feels like to discover
you are partially beautiful.        About the Author:Luba OstashevskyLuba Ostashevsky teaches chemistry at Bronx Prep High School. Her verse has appeared in Broad River Review, Newtown Literary Review, Orbis and others.
    

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