Susan Darlington is a freelance arts journalist and poet based in the UK. Her debut collection, Under The Devil’s Moon, is available now through Penniless Press Publications.
The green of the nettle was a swarm of red,
sun-torpid ladybirds wandering from plant
to budding plant as they hunted for shade
under an alder that creaked with ring growth.
I plucked metamorphosis soft insects from leaves
with puppy fat fingers and put them in a tin
that was fragile in its sharpness with orange rust,
flakes of paint coming off on my downy pink skin.
Under my guileless eyes they circled and slipped
on the corroded sides of metal and when dusk fell
I placed the lid on the tin, stored it on a shelf,
and climbed between the white sheets on my bed.
In the morning, when I removed the cover,
I found stiff, motionless beetles cast in ruby
and when I made my bed, the linen was stained
with the iron-rich silhouette of a ladybird in flight.