sometimes when i scream
beetles crawl out of my mouth
dribbling down my chin like the foam of toothpaste.
they go up, and wedge themselves
behind my eyelids
to cast the shadows of their wings
over everything i see.
but more importantly
they hide beneath my shirt
and even after i shower i can’t
seem to be rid of them.
they pop up when they please,
these beetles of mine.
the other night i tried to drink wine
and a beetle crawled out of my sleeve
and tried to drown herself in it.
i feel them hovering over my stomach
like the way the hum of a rainforests’ creatures
go still when a predator is near.
i have yet to find out what that means.
i tried to scratch one off my arm
but my fingers ran through her transparent shell
as though she was a ghost.
all that was left behind was
red crescents that my beetles flocked to
as though my blood was a feast.
and i screamed,
more beetles birthing from my tongue.
and as they were expelled from my lungs
i felt suffocation setting in.
i wonder if they were always here.
festering in my stomach,
reproducing in my esophagus
crawling through my capillaries.
stealing everything i had for myself
and thirsting only for more.
was my body ever more than a home for beetles?
they use my insides for shelter when i shower
stretching my eyes,
filling my nose,
but never touching my lips.
i feel beetles brewing within my own skull.
they have tasted me. they have learnt me.
i lean down and bite
a beetle directly off my arm.
i kill her with tooth and tongue,
with every crunch she decomposes
within the same mouth from which she was birthed.
i learn that my beetles are sweet,
i learn the feel of my beetles bodies beautifully
shredding to pieces.
this is a glorious funeral for the last months
of our shared lives,
a tenderly violent goodbye.
i eat every last one.
i scream just to taste the rawness of my own throat.
and i smile, feeling the grit of corpses between my teeth.
my beetles are dead.