A Small Good News

Poem by Marilyn Nelson

The first warm day. My left-open front door
invites the wintered-over ladybugs
to find their way outside. Hundreds have died,
awakened too soon by the thermostat
or the late-blazing bulb of my desk lamp.
My vacuum cleaner bag is a mass grave.
The survivors swarm to the source of a breeze
whispering first green and forsythia.
They cling to the screen door like prisoners
longing through barred windows. They make me think
of refugee camps, of men with forgotten names.
Later today, I’ll set my captives free.


American Arts Quarterly, Summer 2010, Volume 27, Number 3