(for Garda Ghista, 1944-2012)
The ladybug goes back and forth, back and forth
across the thin-rimmed screen.
She doesn’t know she goes back and forth
across the lip of the laptop’s screen.
I’ve already killed a score or more—
a minor infestation.
As soon as the warm days come along–
millions of them breeding!
How do they get into my home…
and why does she seem delirious?
When I was a kid, we’d cup them in palms—
something delicate…, traipsing…, tickling. …
(Fireflies, too, were good in our hands
and magic and mystic at nightfall.)
All of that’s gone now–
back and forth, back and forth in our dreams.
I wish I could tell this amiable being
the futility of her journeying.
How short her life… with that carapace–
that pretty bead enclosing wings. …
To what earthly purpose
should we be so methodical?
Should I let her live? Should I play God?
What does she seek? A mate? A home?
Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home—
into a child’s hand in a land forlorn,
into some globed, elder’s hands.
• Writer and humanist Garda Ghista, editor of World Prout Assembly, succumbed to breast cancer in Germany. She was also the founder of Hearts Healing Hunger, feeding thousands of poor people in India.