In motel breezeway buzzing light
in the cooling air of descending night
I was stopped just short of the ice machine
by the glistening black of the apparent king
of every earthly cockroach.
He faced me square,
the hint of a dare
in the tilt of his tiny head –
his body raised.
as if curious I had not fled.
Thus we stood for two beats or three
Till I realized what was required of me.
I bowed my head briefly,
begging his pardon
and asking his leave to pass through.
With a curt nod, he turned
to march away…
and lifted my shoe.