By night, the children examine
their lamp lights and mattresses.
By day, they no longer dislodge
grasshoppers to place in holed jars
or stomp on bull ant mountains.
A mosquito fog obstructs the view
of the river, the snaking, washed-up
algae and recurrent weed bouquets.
The porch is hedged with latest repellents;
five or six in every cupboard of the house.
Ten spiders gather at the foot of the table leg
and twelve scuttle from beneath the piano lid.
The two muted strings during chopsticks
are explained, and each speckled movement
of the wall shadows. A For Sale sign, for six
months, reads Premium Waterfront Property.
Earplugs block the siren of the unshifting
blanket of crickets on the windowpane.
The child raises her eyes from the screen
to ask what animal Kermit is and I tell
the story of the creature with the bowl-like
chin and delicate lever legs, dropped in
water buckets, containers and eager palms
until the coming of the next novelty.