he is a skinny kid
who builds a simple fort
with six dining chairs,
poking holes in a nice black sheet;
his mother, weary, scolds him
but he says they needs stars!
next comes the dirt,
lugged in from the yard,
a red bucket of it with bits of sod
dumped on the floor.
he constructs lopsided hills,
digs shallow rivers and egg-shaped lakes,
fills them with tap water,
and places insects onto their fresh earth.
they scurry, settle,
lay tiny families and flourish;
he feeds them melon rinds and bread,
protecting their homes from centipedes,
spiders with angry eyes and legs.
he names them all, calls them children,
but mother calls him for supper,
finds him and yells to clean up the mess:
put the chairs where he found them,
throw away the sheet,
mop the floor until it shines,
return those dirty bugs
to where they came from.
the insects, clueless, are bundled into jars,
whispered prophecies of a return,
and forgotten on a dusty shelf
in his cluttered closet;
he has his favorite meal
then goes to bed.