Gnats by Ladan Osman
published in The Normal School, 2015
I can't tell why I think the dried corncobs
in the gravel and the mattress under the tree
were not put here by children who bite so fast
they leave rows of kernels.
What does this mattress make me imagine?
What stalks this strange field? Who is eating my head?
Years ago, I would have imagined children jumping
off the branches, landing hard on the mattress,
shouting out when the odd spring caught a rib, an elbow.
There would be a young mother with a plate of corn,
red-faced from the heat and laughing.
Then, bird songs were not ominous.
Danger did not orbit like a gang of gnats.