On the Correct and Virtuous Placement of Small Creatures


By Mark Luebbers

Let them appear in the manner that reflects our most charming selves.
Let them surface when they will not offend our habits.

They shall fly or run only gracefully in the corners of our vision, adding to our
benign sense of well-being. Their proportions and movements shall make us sigh.

We will have charming names for each one that we see, and we will
greet them by name as they return after storm or fire.

We should never be aware of their defects, and we may destroy any
we see behaving in an offensive manner, or if our doing so fits the daily plan.

In response to their demise, we will speak in hushed tones, in order to convey
not merely due reverence, but awe at our disciplined and judicious violence.

Let them not appear at all, but rather be transformed into proper images
on the walls and in the gardens of our homes. They will become our artifice.

Let their colors and textures be various, but only as befits our need for beauty
as we currently define it, without hard shells, claws, mouths, or filth.

Sturdy containers, often of glass or other suitable material, should be made
with covers, and will allow them to live among us, sheltered and yet exposed to our view.

Arranged just so, we will look on them with curiosity and humor. And as we do,
our reflections will reassure us that we are God’s stewards, and may proceed on his behalf.


I'm a teacher and live with my wife, sons and dog in Cincinnati. While I'm a reluctant suburbanite, I've also found this very conventional place to be a fertile landscape for poems about the odd juxtapositions of the natural and man-made worlds. My poems have appeared in Miller's Pond Review and Intuitions.