The madwoman watches
by Ann Howells


____a small, black bug
spin in circles on her bathroom tiles—
twirl like a dog chasing its tail.
Its constant turning fascinates.
The madwoman knows insecticides
cause the motion, affect the bug’s tiny
nervous system. She is after all mad,
not stupid.

The madwoman makes a ham sandwich —
mayo, no mustard— two onion slices.
She eats it, then returns to the bug
still spinning, spinning—albeit slower now.
She unloads the dryer, folds clothes, checks
the bug who now staggers, awkward loops
wobbling off course.

The madwoman lowers her body
to the tiles, absorbed by the bug’s clumsy
motion. The bug twitches, rolls to its back.
She pokes it with a bright, red fingernail;
it does not move. Thoughtfully, she rises,
extends her arms, and slowly, oh, so slowly,
begins to spin.






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