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An E-mail from God Concerning the Recent Plague of Locusts


"And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power."
- Revelation 9:7-8
Yesterday I twisted open the cap of the world
and in flowed locusts—tiny centurions,
breasts bronzed with armor, their forelegs clanging
together like swords upon shields.
They twisted through the clouds like lightning.
You saw them crashing toward you
and I noticed you clenched your laptop

to your chest as if you thought they were rain.
You reminded me of Pharaoh cradling his son's limp body
in his arms, cursing me as though I were a motorist
who had run the boy over and driven away.
But you ducked into a Starbucks before the locusts hit
and all hell quite literally broke loose. As you sat
sipping your latte and typing on your screenplay,

I watched the locusts strip bark from trees,
paint from houses, stacks of letters from the hands
of postmen, and then the postmen themselves,
their uniforms collapsing into small blue heaps,
which the locusts then devoured. You may not have seen
the swarm invade the pet shop. They swirled
like the great clouds of a tornado and ate and ate

until the animals were merely white cages
locked in larger cages, the shopkeeper's bones
slumped over the counter. You seemed not to appreciate
their sweep through the bus station, leaving in their wake
only watches, wallets, and here and there
a prosthetic limb, the buses idling emptily in their lanes.
Once they had eaten their fill, I watched as they spiraled

back up into the atmosphere, the black mass of them
blotting out the sun so that you thought it was night
already and decided to head home for a bite.
I know you were pissed that you had to walk
all that way in the dark, but I did notice that locusts
figure prominently into the end of Act II Scene VII
and I wanted to say, you're welcome.

- Nick McRae (from Sweet: A Literary Confection)





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