Poem for the Day: September 3rd, 2021

The Symbolic Life by Hayan Charara

They kept showing up, for days,
dead on the windowsill,
and for days I did nothing about the ladybugs
except to ask if their entering the house
unnoticed and dying before I saw them
was symbolic.
Thinking was so easy.
They symbolized birth and death,
change and rebirth.
It was also possible the tiny beetles
embodies an inborn need
to show themselves,
to turn up in every and any place,
even as the dried out remains of the once-lively.
Or they stood for the burden of being one thing
relieved by becoming another,
which all the world’s children suffer.

This went on and on, and could’ve gone on
forever, so I finally opened the window
and blew them into the wide open
because everything and everyone should get a
to be mourned, and they got theirs,
but first they had to die, which is life,
not symbolism.

Copyright © 2017 by Hayan Charara. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 25, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.


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