Poem of the Day

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Imagining the Life of an Earwig

by Helen Hagemann


Leave a door open long enough

and an earwig will enter. The kitchen

is the most popular to travel in.

Among insects a decision is made

(those of different species)

not to touch or pass by in the hallway.

An ant and earwig might come together

and part, safe in the knowledge

that when one leaves another arrives.

It’s the past meeting the future


Whichever direction an earwig goes,

it will be one fast step

from the swish of a dog’s tail,

or the pounce of a cat’s paw.

Outdoors, earwigs forage in drains, leaf litter.

They love the chemistry of winter air,

the heavy crash of rain, a blue sky when it stops.

Sometimes you find an earwig sleeping between

the sheets of the morning newspaper,

although a quick flap or roll

over discarded scraps

can be fatal.

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