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screaming gnat

I gnat, once giant, scrambled
by a witch’s curse, write this final
testament of how I loomed
before I shrank, and what I thunk
before I thank the purveyors
of drug and greed who paid
the hag to do this deed.

Today, as you can see,
I am an irritant who longs
to swarm with others of my
kind and fly into the faces
of the ones I wish to notice
me. In times gone by, my
quaking steps would shake
the roofs of mighty folk,
and all would quaver
when I spoke, no need
had I to earlobes bite or
hop away in itsy bitsy fits
of spite. My scorn was held
in high esteem. I crushed
the skulls of those whose
creeds and lesser talents
bugged, and stirred them
smugly in my tea.

Now I ache for company
and whimper with my cap
in hand—a little kiss is all I
ask—and if I’m lucky get a
slap. No one wants a weeping,
lonely, carapaced and backward-
facing gnat to call their friend,
and that’s a fact!

So here I stand
not what I was
but who I am
a six-legged little
insect man who
did the things he did
for good or worse.
At least, I never stole
a purse—except that
once, and maybe she
was not a witch, that
woman I was dumb
enough to love, who
stomped across my heart,
and maybe she was not
unkind but merely someone
who observed and finally tired
of the boy inside the frightened
man who wished to grow to be
a giant to fight back, protect
the ones he thought could
not protect themselves.

And maybe what I’m
hearing now while crawling
through the inner ear of
who I used to be is not
the creepy roaring sound
of one whose ego swelled
to giant size, then burst
like greasy weevil guts
but echoes of a greater me
who holds us both, the big guy
and the gnat, as equal treasures—
and that slap I thought I heard
was real but tactical, to wake
some sleeping sense in me.


© Elaine Stirling, 2014
The delightful image of a screaming gnat comes, appropriately, from http://www.screaming-gnat.com.