Charles “Chuck” Taylor

These little terrorists, the brown oblong kind, not so smart; the blacker, smaller, rounder ones, dodging whatever you pick up to smash them, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, on the kitchen countertop, inside the bread box, around the bathroom sink and tub, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, hiding on the underside of drawers, you can tell they’re terrified, dropping unhurt from three feet up, scurrying for corners, it made you question your rage, were you killing ROACHES because no matter where you lived, they appeared and became intimate, old apartments in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, oh those places where you hoped to make new dreams come true, where you hoped to make a better you, but always COCKROACHES, COCKROACHES; it went back to San Antonio, your father said, when he was stationed at Randolph Field, living in a Quonset hut, and your mom and dad were at their happiest, drinking tequila and playing bridge with other soldiers through the World War II night; they’d lay their eggs in cracks of furniture, the ROACHES, mom and dad killed them all, but soon the terrorists reappeared, those killers of hopes for bright beginnings, and you wonder about their social structure within the walls, did the mothers nurse their hatchlings, these ancient creatures who will walk the planet after we’ve become a distant history; one wormed into your sister’s ear, maybe hungry for the wax, and it couldn’t back out, your sister cried until the doctor tweezered the insect free in pieces; ah the rage in you, bursting with joy as they scurried away with bits of food from the sink, dropping feces like sin everywhere, and you SLAM and BLAM, sensing a universe not made for you.

Chuck Taylor lives in the hill country of Texas and spends his free time canoeing spring fed rivers and hiking limestone trails. He’s published two memoirs, two novels, and eight poetry books. His favorite book of poems he’s published is called At the Heart. His favorite published novel, Drifter’s Story.

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