Ann E. Michael: If Only

Why didn’t Gregor Samsa
use his wings, she wonders.
Surely he’d have weighed enough
to batter and break the narrow
bourgeois windowpanes
of his parents’ fettered house:
thunk, thunk clattering
like a junebug until the glass
shattered under his urgency, if only
he had felt urgency.

She thinks she would have understood him
clasped in his glossy carapace, could
have shown him he possessed
the power to fly above Prague, Budapest,
Vienna, flight wings spread wide
beneath his elytra, his legs clutching her.

They could have sheltered amid pines
in the lower Alps, found suitable repasts
on forest floors where she’d provide his
eager palpi with leaves, fruits,
and anything partially decayed.
He might have lived a little, in her company,
before the inevitable desiccation and dust.

But Gregor chose to wallow. She will have
to look for love elsewhere, Siberia, perhaps.
She’s heard about a patched-together hunk,
ice-dwelling, crazy for love. The kind of man
she thinks she’d understand.



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