Jennifer Angelina Petro
I went downstairs to do laundry.
A silverfish loosened from the shadows,
Crawling along the edges of the floor,
It’s long feelers sweeping the area in front and to the side,
Sensitive to any pivot of the foot.
Putting down the basket, I found myself
On hands and knees following it
Behind the dampened fingers of the water pipes
And musty boxes of teaching supplies,
To where it somehow disappeared under the wall.
Over the years silverfish have appeared in my life—
Sometimes dropping, like tears,
From the bindings of books,
Sometimes shimmering from out of nowhere
Outside my door.
Whenever I see them I remember:
I survived years without being seen,
Only to reappear in the pages of my life
Having lived off the glue that holds me together,
Defying the walls built around my rightful home,
And I thank them, smiling at their ability to flash
In and out of sight whenever they choose.