Compassion by Alex Turnage

I usually kill beetles that glomp me unprovoked

But today I was merciful. Looking down

To my utter surprise, he clung to my jacket

Hiding on the black fabric that mirrored

His brilliant black carapace.

Not expecting his arrival

I jump back, surprised he felt

He could invite himself

Onto my person

After a mere fifteen minutes after meeting.

I tried politely telling him to leave

Using soft words of encouragement

But in his short time there

He grew quite fond of my polyester coating.

So instead I cradle him,

Gently placing him on a window’s sill

Where darkened refurbished wood

Would hide him well

I feel proud, showing restraint

And choosing not to harm


The next day, my mind wanders

To my squirming insectoid compatriot.

What adventures has he embarked on after

Departing into the great unknown?

Did he ever talk with the bees?

Much too curious, I return to ask him

How he came to hope his way

Into my life. But the sun no longer reflected a shine.

He lay on his back, legs bent inwards

Antennae snapped and torn

With bits of wood chipped from

The sill that garnishes his remains.


Some years later, my jubilant nephew

Urges to follow him quickly tugging my shirt fervently.

He has something Awesome to show me.

His shoes sit by the door and in their soles,

A brilliant black beetle crawling

Sifting through the dirt sifted in the shoe.

Without remorse or hesitation, I use my foot

To smash the beetle in one blow. He cries out,

And demands to know with furrowed brows

“Why? What did the Spider do?”

I shrug my shoulders, never skipping a beat

I reply “Nothing. Just helping out a friend.”