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the mirror does it for the bug :: j. allyn rosser

by on August 22, 2016

I can’t stop staring at this stuck-up bug
clamped to its reflection on the glass.
Is it merely a cool surface, a pause
in its bug day, with an approving twin
for partner—silent, yes, but not remote—
one whose feelers, at last, match its own?

Or does it recognize them as its own,
those glistening, compound eyes? Can a bug
be vain, see in its own gaze a mote
of Zeus-like, loving gold, and sip a glass
of self agog before its bug-eyed twin,
embrace ambrosial soi? Skip the applause,

Walt Whitman. This bug’s a pig. It appalls
to think that even insects want their own marquee to bill bugself above bugother, win
the prize for uniqueness! Why should it bug
me to see vanity in this looking glass
of fellow creature, genetically remote?

Yet we’re riveted. Why must I emote
about its penchant to high-five its paws
with its own paws, pat itself on the glass,
interfacing with, basking in, its own
hairy-thorax image, like a shutterbug
on a self-timer jag, spending self to win

more gorgeous self to gorge on, a win-
win thing, a queenless king with a fishless moat,
safe to hover close upon, for a bug
whose mug’s the spitting image of his pa’s
although they’ve never met. He’s his own
maker, far as he can tell. In my glass

he can see himself as peerless. My glass
shows me aging. In my glass I can’t win.
Win what? Just how loathsome is my own
longing to be more than one more mote
among the dust-spun masses, soul on pause,
hand clamped on the damned remote? The bug

is moot—won’t impose its image on its own,
as I do, on bugs, landscape, songs, seaglass
someone sent me once when I was young and winsome.


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