There’s a cockroach wiggling in, above, and behind-below my gut

Photography by Rendan Lovell

by Kath Richards

There’s a cockroach wiggling in, above, and behind-below my gut
and it’s got almost legs and arms and two holes where its soon-to-be eyes will blink at me bore right through me
in a gas station in a burp of a town in New Mexico
I stare and see reflected in the dented mirror, mirrored smears
of gray beneath my own almost-eyes and
a picture of the Virgin with the baby taped on the wall,
“Yeah Baby!” in silver sharpie coming from quietly smiling lips.

I think to take it, tear it up and swallow it, save it
from the neighboring sketch of a penis
and “Jane Eadman Gives Out” penciled on the plaster,
free it from the rinky bathroom and the screaming
sink with surprisingly solid water pressure, feed the painting-print of peace to the growing goblin which is gobbling my insides with its own great stomach but then how else would someone think about the baby,
and its mother, who held it so tenderly,
even as it hollered.


Kath Richards recently graduated with her MFA in creative writing from Brigham Young University, where (among other things) she wrote about romance, vampires, and romantic vampires. She is the managing editor of Soft Union, a forthcoming literary monthly, and her poems and short stories are featured in journals such as Touchstones, Warp & Weave, and The Pensieve.