I sat smoking a cigarette as a centipede
crawled towards me,
its little legs speeding onward with a lively passion
that startled me
so I jumped up and from a distance watched, sickly curious,
my stomach soured by the threat of its closeness, how it seemed
that it might crawl onto me, for a moment
become a part of me.
I could have killed it, ground my heel into its ugly writhing body
but instead I stood over it like a God, smoking and wondering
how something so small and insignificant could race toward death
with such arrogance.
Does it know? I asked myself. Does it know that I'm here?
That my eyes follow its every pathetic creep and crawl?
How the life moving its legs toward me could in a moment be taken
by a single movement from my own mighty legs?
I imagined myself in its millions of little eyes,
Death herself, in billowing clouds of a ghostly smoke.
The centipede could see nothing else.
As I squished the fire out of my cigarette,
I thought perhaps I knew then how God might feel
as she watches the human centipedes creep and crawl
over the world she thought she made: