Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

Chelmsford, MA

We smashed them on the soles of our shoes.

They crawled up and down our steep driveway

leaving the gray-green smear of their feces.

My mom forbade Grandpa his morning walk,

sure he’d slip. All night we heard them

leaf-munch like something from Spielberg

so smushing them served them right.

We’d bet on the color of their guts–

a pop of jewel green,  an ooze

of ruby, a splat of gray.  Our dads

taped adhesive to the tree trunks,

but the lucky ones climbed over the stuck victims.

Only when a lady visited the neighbors

did we all look up when she did

at the July branches, bare as winter.


published in Harpur Palate, Volume 13.1 – Summer/Fall 2013