The Master of Small Violence
He wakes at ten, opens up a can of tinned peaches
and hacks at the succulent halves with a fork taken
from the dish-rack, the only clean utensil left
after a week of neglecting the washing up.
Pushing past split fly-screens in tatters after
making the mistake of feeding next-door’s cat,
he flicks some of the syrup at a largish ant crawling
along a frond and four varieties of flies swarm
in like a squadron heeding the sticky reveille.
Some of the syrup hits a spun leaf so that
a spider worries for its sack, stumbles forth,
forelegs raised to attack the assailant, mimicker
of the elements, which it is unable to locate, aimless
in defence. He finds himself inspired each time
a Christmas beetle’s wings close incorrectly.
The cat bears gifts: chewed cockroaches beckon
from its jaws. After lunch, ants scamper over crumbs,
march toward a crack, drown, fall off the stainless
splashback. Now the sun’s warm paws reach in
through the kitchen window, toying with each web
as at a fraying hem. The sink fills with this predatory
warmth: it is the day drowns them, he is blameless.