Manual

By Anthony Frame

Instinct needs nothing but time. The roach

doesn’t wonder why it waits until dark.
I’m leaving academia so I can learn how

to squeeze into crawlspaces, how to drive
a stick shift with my knees, how to become
fluent in the American Dream. I’m told

the word exterminator has been replaced
by pest control technician, but neither comes
with rhythm or answers. I never had any

for my students and I’ll offer nothing more
to customers. There must be beauty in these
stilled potholes, in these public housing projects.

In these roaches. It’s a matter of learning how
to hurt a fly, how to ignore a mind wandering
beneath subfloors. An insect only wants time

to breed before it dies. Birth and death:
it’s all the same. It’s how you return,
bringing back more than just metaphors.

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