The Festive: Five hundred thousand means
have been invented for his destruction;
but none availeth.
––Lafcadio Hearn, Insect Literature

Through labyrinths of ash
I drag the Festives, all of them,
searching for bowls of cream
where they might drown themselves.
Do it, do it, someone says
and I drag more and more
further and further,
averse to murder,
almost blind with hunting.
Who cares if the Festives amuse
kittens and can be used
for medicinal purposes?
I go where I go, vowing to stay
in relentless pursuit of the bowls,
that Festives might succumb
to their love of cream.
And drown.

Jacquelyn Shah: A.B. English, Rutgers U; M.A. English, Drew U; M.F.A., Ph.D.–English/creative writing, U of Houston. Publications: poetry chapbook, small fry; full-length poetry book, What to Do with Red; poems in journals––Literal Latté’s 2018 contest winner; memoir-winner––Limited Engagement, published summer 2023.