I wonder if local people

Shudder more than others

When they read Kafka’s Metamorphosis—

You know the one where the guy turns into a cockroach.


Local folks are afraid of B-52 bombers that’s why

I mean, come on, the guy’s not going turn

Into the small, German roach

It’s way too small.


If you going turn into a roach

Better you go big or go home

B-52’s rule!

They the ones that dive bomb your head on humid nights

They fearless, kamikaze-style

I wonder who they want to protect.


One time, the biggest roach I ever saw

Got stuck in my hair, all tangled up

I screamed, jumped up and down, and cried

Until my sister slapped my head with her slipper

That was worse because the guts spread all over my head.


Another time, I was sitting in the kitchen

With one leg up on the lower wooden shelf

My leg felt funny, sort of itchy but not

I didn’t shave my legs

So maybe the hair scraped against my jeans

But you know what’s coming—

I stood up and shook my pants

It was a sneak attack by a B-52

No worries, I got him.


My sister told me one time

She and my brother’s girlfriend went to eat pho

They saw something hanging from the ceiling

Like in a scary movie this dark thing kept moving

Closer and closer

They didn’t know to laugh or cry

But they finished eat fast.


Here in the islands

If you get too many roaches in your house

Big or small kind, no matter

Your house will have the smell

And if you see one roach in the daytime

That means they not scared

Because they are millions more

Just waiting for you.

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