Squish is a bad word, a bug word

found on the heels of noisy girls and nosy boys

running through the absolute of backyard jungles


Small mouths pick at things too large, like jelly

dropped slopped with sweet syrup.

They taste and chew and stick themselves to grass-

molasses glue ambrosia.


A breeze of bees swarms the birdbath.


Concrete beetles trundle over slaloms of slate,

turned up and cracked. They roll and fall, buffoons before

my lazy eyes, I watch them huff and tumble.


Roly-poly potato bug ambles, distracted,

winds in a circle; a tiny armadillo on his back

in a crack of the sidewalk.

She wants me to rescue him so of course I do.



painted handbag

attached to the peonies.



In a pattern of traffic only they know-

Caravan, carry fallen comrades

over leaves and twigs

back to the nexus of organization.


A chrysalis for monarchs, for stasis, for slumber,

for pushing warm blood, into their wings,

emerging to freedom, to dill and red milkweed,

to gold thread and peapod.

The calendar sings of crawling.

Spiders on necks vexed.

No slapping, just intent fingers

itching a small red dot.

The culprit is set down on the landscape-

living to spin a tantalizing lair

that could tangle in her hair tomorrow.


Fireflies near the pines

and the berries.


The patron saint of helpless bugs

Smiles and paints her toes.

Her love of bugs and precious tiny things

is a balm to heal a world within a world.


I hardly speak, but listen-

a moth drawn by the light

stubborn while the porch is awake.






Tim Moder is an indigenous poet living in northern Wisconsin.  He is a member of Lake Superior Writers. He is a Father and Grandfather. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pittsburgh Poetry Journal and In Parentheses Magazine.