Not an Intergalactic Telecommunication Device

cockroach embroidery  Belinda Broughton
cockroach embroidery
Belinda Broughton

It was not an intergalactic telecommunication device.
It was a common insect.
Well, not so common if you looked at it,
because this cockroach sprouted antennae
from between his shoulders, and they were shaped
like little television aerials, quite tall
when he extended them with the telescopic slides.

I was afraid of him. He was an American spy
or someone from ASIO; perhaps they’d
been following my internet visits
to that political site about Islam.
I was afraid that if I picked him up he’d shoot me.
So I stomped on him instead, the little aerials
crunching under my shoe like potato crisps.

But he was so devious –
when I looked at his remains
he had become a standard cockroach –
simple, black, squashed and dead
the acrid smell of his body reminding me
why I never squash them,
why I always release them into the night.

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