Bending Season

I live outside, on the porch of a travel trailer, underneath an awning and hemmed by colorful tarps.

The dirt is always beneath my feet and the weather on my skin. Insects go about their quotidian, treating me like just so much terrain. I observe their passage and their limitless diversity. I witness their entrances and exits on the stage of seasons.

Now is the season of the caterpillar. Little inchworms bend their way through space. Contract and expand, contract and expand. When observed at close distance, it is they who tug the earth through its travels.

They dangle from the live oaks on their silken threads, trapeze artists alight on the breeze, and then march together in all directions, following the arrows of anarchy to natural order. They are legion. They cover me by the dozens. My tender attempts at relocating them sometimes end in bloodshed. They are not willingly pried from their purchase.

The chickens feast during bender season. They pick away at the legion, taking out swaths, but the legion remains legion. Soon enough, they will disappear entirely, through no act of chicken, to be replaced by tiny white moths. A swarm replaces the horde, still legion either way.

They die quickly, leaving papery wings as memento of their moment. Little parchments mark the end of bending season. Punctuated ephemera.

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