May/June 2016 • Vol. XXXVIII No. 3 Nature's NatureMay 1, 2016 |

Letter to a Cockroach, Now Dead and Mixed into a Bar of Chocolate

Regulations allow for, on average, sixty insect fragments per hundred grams of chocolate in America. You are pulverized. The thorax, the head, the legs that no longer twitch. Invisible and milk-smooth. Nothing harbors a secret like sweetness. Centuries ago, the Sirens understood this statute. Each sunk their knowledge inside a voice of chimes and kisses, hiding the oceans stone teeth in a mouth of mist and foam. Yesterday, waves beat against a dock in Brazil. The quick bodies of you and your buddies quivered across the cargo of cacao beans. You couldn't possibly comprehend: the beans on their way to the grinder, just as those ancient sailors couldn't envision—beyond the Sirens' music— the broken mast, the shattered hull. Today is Valentine's Day. I walk to the store to buy a box of chocolate for my wife. As I walk, I have no idea whose hands made the shoes that hug my feet, or why the produce at the supermarket glows like numbers on the stock exchange. There is s

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Matthew Olzmann is the author of two poetry collections: Mezzanines and Contradictions in the Design (both from Alice James Books). He teaches at Dartmouth College and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

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