A dead overturned beetle can look as if
it’s feeling in several fob-pockets at once,
checking the beetle version of time
when the ticking stopped on cue.
A dead beetle looks as though
there’s nothing left to do, supposing
it stayed alive. Dead and complete.
While the squashed face of a bog-man
like a school satchel run over and over
never looks, does it, as though that’s it,
as though this is exactly what Ending
had in mind? Even untainted saints
in their glass pods outsmarting
conclusion are ‘sleeping’, as we say, that’s
as far as words take us, this time
A trite thought on a sunny
morning, the tiny carapace rainbowing
as your big finger flips it over.
It was alright being a beetle, the sun
says off the still bright back, there was
nothing round here not actually done.
from Lucky Table (Victoria University Press, 2001), © Vincent O’Sullivan, 2001, used by permission of the author.