To the peanut-shell crackle of cockroach carapaces beneath him
And the sight of now-ill-named flies littering his pillow.
Even as he sits upright, disgusted,
He senses a mosquito alight on his naked shoulder.
There’s a quick sizzle at the point of contact
As the would-be bloodsucker is zapped utterly lifeless.
Next a wispy spider–pinhead body, six sewing-thread legs–
Scales the bedside, brushes against a finger,
And falls flat and static as an asterisk.
Squiggling silverfish, a kamikaze bumblebee, a line of carpenter ants:
Teddy proves a lethal beacon to them all.
He feels like a Kafkaesque X-Man, can’t explain his overnight mutation,
Yet has no problem imagining the entrepreneurial opportunities:
He could rent himself out, become the Pied Piper of pest control.
But as the bugs keep on coming out of the woodwork,
Swarming undaunted past their deadened predecessors toward him,
He slowly realizes his own entrapment by his exterminating epidermis.
Here on out he’ll be forced to live in constant dread,
Of the sudden failure of his newfound power
And a terrible, impromptu turning, from Mr. Insecticide
Into Teddy Infested.