FIVE WAYS TO LOVE A COCKROACH
1: Name it. Humanization allows for greater affection.
Give it clothes, and a house made from a shoebox.
When you feed it, give it crumbs from your own dessert.
Speak to it every day. Confide in it.
Give it a bed to sleep in, and a bathroom with a toilet
and a door that closes-modesty is very human.
This is called "anthropomorphism."
2: Become a Buddhist. The Buddhist must love all things,
no matter how low or despicable. Religion shapes ethics
and ethics shape attitude. A benevolent attitude
will produce positive emotions.
3: Make it part of something you already love.
Feed it to your daughter or wife. The human body
integrates all things consumed into its own structure.
As you love her, you will also love that part of her
that the cockroach has become.
The cockroach must be secreted into the food-if you believe
that your daughter or wife would knowingly eat a cockroach,
you will love her less. This will diminish your love
for the cockroach as well.
4: Become a poet. The more eloquently we speak of love,
the more we believe our love is genuine.
The form of your poetry-sonnet, ode, sestina-is irrelevant.
You must simply form a sophisticated web of praise around the cockroach.
Others will question the veracity of your poems. They will accuse you
of metaphor. Do not falter. Defend your poems
and the sentiments they express. The more steadfast
your conviction, the truer it will become.
5: Kill it. You will love its weakness just as you love your own strength.
Samsara Quarterly, Prose Ax, Disquieting Muses, Lynx Eye, Dust on Our Palms, Stirring, etc.
Pushcart prize nominee
Shades of December
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