Kij Johnson

Five bug poems and a short story

Each summer I assist or teach the Science Fiction Writer's Workshop for the University of Kansas. In 2000, I stayed for two weeks in a nearly abandoned dorm that was undergoing renovations.

Five bug poems

1

Just like last year,
the coin-shaped bug in the sink—
     small change.

2

The bathroom is filled with a number of bugs,
     Some sharp and pointy, and some flat as rugs.
Some bugs are sleepy, and some full of beans
      but all bugs unite in ignoring the screens.

3

Spiders like asterisks cling to the ceiling—
     footnotes.

4

The male mosquito's wings hum—
     the tiniest air raid drill

5

Summer night—sweating,
I hear a mosquito hum,
"They taste better hot."

Why I don't brush my teeth anymore

I'm alone in the bathroom. A bug sidles up.
"That toothpaste sure smells tasty." It leers.
     "Mmmmm," I say, brushing.
"You sure got a lot of toothpaste there."
     "Mmmmm," I say.
"But then, there are sure a lot of us bugs," it says.
     "Mmmmm." I spit.
"More than there are of you," it says.
     "Help yourself," I say, and back from the bathroom.

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© 2000 Kij Johnson