Smudge

You invite butterflies to check into
your bug hotel. You never know.

Everything’s in dispute these days.
Mystery boarders may burrow

in the hollows beneath the stairs.
You build over old mistakes.

The copper trimmed hipped
rooftop. The vertical cypress

siding. The slotted
front entrance. You believe

you have thought of everything
this time. A tall mounting stake rises

above the last words
you murmur at dawn.

The ladybug is a beetle
is not always a lady

the way those polka-dotted scarlet
domes open to expose

the real secret: escape wings
that unfold to four times

the size of the mere body. Sprung
free, let’s fly away abroad

before the warning
coloration flames flicker out.

Let’s sip tainted wine by the bottle,
a soft-spoken whisper drifts

through open windows
on the backs of afternoon

gusts. As the sun sets, mourning
cloaks settle into a lone pile

of logs stacked against an undisturbed,
lichen-encrusted stone wall—

without mortar. The only
protection a funeral

home moon garden needs.

As night blooms,
white-lined sphinx moths

come to mark the pale evening
primroses blessed.

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