I cannot remember the bugs I killed without feeling the pain I caused them.

Burning innocent insects with the end of my cigarette, chopping them in quarters with my pocket knife.

Ant, beetle, spider

running in panicked patterns through backyard forests littered with juvenile beer cans.

I did not hate the bugs;

in fact, I loved them.

They did not have the burden of knowing, the burden of the fucked-up labyrinth inside the skull,

pure and perfect with complex evolutionary skills

able to perceive tiny beauties of the world;

antennas and microscopic ganglia

Envious of their simplicity,

I would repress tears as I crushed their exoskeleton with the bottom of my boot,

taking a long drag of the cigarette hanging from my mouth,

suspending the smoke in my lungs, closing my eyes and exhaling a cloud of pain, comforted in the toxicity.

Sometimes I could see my father in the reflection of their tiny bug-eyes,

I would watch his image transform into myself, skin marred with perfect round and straight scars,

the abuse of alienation

attempts to escape humanity (I felt its evils).

I want to live with the bugs!

to crawl along the dead carcasses of trees,

to carry food with my strong mandibles for my friends,

humble in my servitude, intrinsic to the ecosystem.

I would perish, unnoticed,

a pale, thin kid, in all black, jaw tight,

burdened by knowing,

squishes me with the tip of his finger.