The Stink Bug

Sweetness, here he is again,
with his buzz of reincarnation,
hanging from the edge
of the white gauze curtain
the color of sick bark.
I gather him
in the torn blue rag
carry him, a thing of no weight,
down the long unlit flight of stairs
to the toilet, flick him in
before he can spew his stink
of rot and bitter cucumber.

But here he is again.
And he is speaking.
Look at me, he says.
The hump on my back,
my knobbed eyes.
I know I crawl as if maimed
somewhere inside my body,
my legs pointing
to all the unblessed directions.
Led by nothing
but these flimsy antenna
I find my way back
from the underworld to you.
Yes, back through shit to you.

Sweetness, he says,
Look at me.
Look at me until I’m beautiful.

Laura Budofsky Wisniewski

Laura Budofsky Wisniewski is the author of the collection, Sanctuary, Vermont (Orison Books) which won the 2020 Orison Poetry Prize and the New England Poetry Club’s 2022 Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize. She is also author of the chapbook, How to Prepare Bear (Redbird Chapbooks). She was a finalist in the 2022 Narrative Poetry Prize, runner up in the 2021 Missouri Review Miller Audio Prize, and winner of Ruminate Magazine’s 2020 Janet B. Mccabe Poetry Prize, the 2019 Poetry International Prize, and the 2014 Passager Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry International, The Missouri Review, The Chicago Quarterly Review, Image, Hunger Mountain Review, Pilgrimage, The Examined Life and other journals. Laura lives quietly in a small town in Vermont.

You Say You Are Lost