When I lived in Harbin
In Northern China
I had cockroaches in my kitchen
So I bought a trap
A very sticky
Small cardboard rectangle
With a bit of brown powder
As food
Next day I was surprised to see
Many cockroaches
Stuck fast to the cardboard
There was this one big female
Who had given birth
After her legs had stuck
And there were eight little baby cockroaches
All in a straight line
The younger ones
Had stepped on the older ones
Used them like stepping stones
So the youngest one
Had got the furthest away
From the Mother
He or she had almost made it
To freedom
But had fallen short
By about two centimeters
Some were dead
Some were dying
Occasionally having a small wiggle
In a futile attempt to escape
I thought about
Trying to help them
But I couldn’t
As their little legs
Would just tear away
From their bodies
And I wondered if the Mother
Had been religious
If she had been
She must have felt
Very let down
By the cockroach God
That day