by Gary Hardaway

I kill all the time. The cockroach,
scurrying across my floor.

The spider who fangs
an indeterminate venom.

Mosquitoes and gnats
too slow to escape my swat.

Uncounted hens and piglets
die at my demand. The killing floor

runs red for me. I am
monstrous to creatures small and great,

ruthless, insatiable, indifferent to suffering.
I should be hunted down by insect villagers,

bearing tiny torches and pitchforks,
and staked through my old cold heart.