Caterpillars we crushed to know
the color of their guts. Worms impaled
on fishing hooks, guillotined by reckless trowels.
The baby chick I tread on, 
the golden fleece I cradled
until its warmth went out.
The raccoon in my headlight beams, 
a dervish blacker
than the pavementís black.
Lobsters in cauldrons, one held under
when roiled too shallowly. Crabs with arms
as long as mine and more elbows.
Whole schools of shrimps, embalmed
with butter. Crawfish shelled like peanuts
tossed off the balcony.
I remember an impossibly small
leg on a plate,
but not to whom it belonged.
Once in Florida, an alligator.
Bugs drowned in buckets of paint, painted
onto the house when they didnít flee in time.
A nest of hornets knocked from the eaves with a broom.
Flies hysterical on fly-paper.
Aphids, poisoned.
Roaches, likewise.  Then, stomped on.
Goldfish.  Many.  Flushed.
Rat poison deployed in the cellar; chewing
sounds stopped coming from the floor.
Most nights I sleep like any animal, curled
against the cold, dreaming 
my sins are innocent.

© Abby Paige