blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Eradication of Exotic Pests

Sometimes in the middle of the night
I am interviewed by a lovely young girl.
She has red hair and creamy skin.
What do you think of the world she asks?
I answer: You know when you’re falling in love
but are afraid to let the one you love
know it because you’re afraid they’ll disappear?
She nods, looking up at me, brushes
her hair back from her forehead.
Well, that’s how I feel about the world.
She bows her head, scribbles in her notebook.
Sometimes in the middle of the night
my soul gets tired of being two people
and, knowing I don’t care for the tropics,
flies off to Hawaii. Sometimes in the middle
of the night I meet a young woman,
perhaps she’s a hooker and I’m a cab driver.
I’m taking her around to different hotels.
She looks out the cab window, No, she says,
and I keep driving. It’s a slow night
for cab drivers and hookers. Finally
she gives me an address in El Segundo.
It’s a tract house. She pays, tips nicely, gets out.
I start to head back, that’s when I notice
a sheet of paper on the rear seat.
I assume it’s my next poem but apparently
it’s for Richard Garcia the entomologist.
It’s the title page to his next book,
Eradication of Exotic Pests.
Sometimes in the middle of the night
I wait on the beach while my soul goes surfing.
She strides out of the water carrying her board.
Look, she says, handing me a shell
that resembles a petrified, crumbled piece of paper,
and she gives me that Veronica Lake,
Audrey Hepburn, half tomboy, half vixen smile. 

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