Infestation


Two years peeing in the same spot and still no clue
about the small tree with thorns in the bole
and opposite, entire leaves. Not Gleditsia. One thorn,
not three. Could it be privet?

Full of doubt. About survival of the species and my own.
A plague of tent caterpillars, more than an infestation,
an insurgency that has left the sky naked, bones revealed
trees knee deep in webbing.

Another way to look at it: The caterpillars have opened up
the understory. It's not a form of terrorism,
it's an opportunity for otherwise repressed species
to assert genetic relevance.

A scientist gets out among the ticks and webs, observes
the march of barberries up the watershed, mustards spread
in tire treads, and hidden among this mess of invasives,
a jalopy of a hunter's roost.

Beer cans are also diagnostic. Inwood Park,
dog poop and abandoned cars, yet a copper beech around which
Indians camped. The broken asphalt and Spanish language.
Humanity followed time there.

When I see a fox, a coyote or a bear, I think What Good Luck
to be made of clay and alive this year. If I saw a cougar
I would not know what to do. It would change my life,
like an archaic torso of Apollo.

Look for the silver lining. Walk on the sunny side of the street.
Count your blessings. Life goes on. A little better every day in every way.
You can't take it with you. It's only money. People who need people are
the luckiest beetles in the world.


Copyright 2007 by Robert Ronnow.