"Too Many Ladybugs Smelling of Turmeric" by Ellen Doré Watson was published in Issue 11 of the Marlboro Review


Too Many Ladybugs Smelling of Turmeric

Colors true, chill air quick-sunned
back to balmy-this would be a good day
to be happy. Half-way between a spring
chicken and a geezer, and suddenly

alone in the bright feedlot, I choose
to settle on what's in reach. A good
old shovel, some mums that want
out of the pot. This would be

a good day for speeding tickets, too,
but I'm of no mind to go anywhere.
I make an omelet and eat it outside
where so much is so inappropriately

alive, a big peek at yesterday's and
tomorrow's hidden. Ladybugs catch
in my hair. They know better than we
how long they have, their bug-brains done

with eating and fucking (it's called
diapause); they leave smears of yellow
juice (which neighbor Faith says is blood
bled from their joints), and that bad-dirt

smell-nothing but predators and shelter
left in their synapses: a frenzy of whirring
and jostling as they mount mass assaults
on the house's every orifice, hundreds of them

flattened in the doorjambs as if fleeing
a nightclub fire. Poor tiny tortoises, late
October freckles on the screen, dark memory
of locusts, too much in a time of not-enough.

Ellen Doré Watson's book of poems, Ladder Music, won the New York/New England Award from Alice James Books. Her poems appear in Ploughshares, Field, The American Poetry Review and The New Yorker. She directs The Poetry Center at Smith College and serves as an editor of The Massachusetts Review.

Copyright ©2001 Ellen Doré Watson

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