Photograph of ladybug from Duane Albert Armstrong's "Fields of Grass" series. {CC-by-SA-3.0}

Photograph of ladybug from Duane Albert Armstrong's "Fields of Grass" series. {CC-by-SA-3.0}

My Eighth Birthday


I got a microscope to watch
whales in drops of water, galaxies
in wildflowers and a cosmos
in a clover. Night jangled
undiscovered planets
with rosy worms winding
through the heaven that is Earth.

Years and seasons wheeled so slowly
I stopped noticing sugar ants
in the grass and became a boring man
eager for advancement.

Aged twenty-two, I plodded through campus,
burdened by the powerlessness
of a drowning fish. My steps thumped
in springtime when a ladybug
landed on my arm so red I thought
Iā€™d pricked myself and bled.

She was speckled and wick-brittle
and trilled her rounded wings
in her brief cherry of being
like a mayfly that lives one day
crowded with pleasure, the sweetness to know
life has no meaning except life itself
and the sky needs no reason
for birds to fly there, the sun
rich enough for spiders, for saints
wonderstruck by nuts and twigs
in that carnival of snails
which is the world and I affirm the world
before dying without asking why I died
or why the moon glows her pewter dove
when love is the reason I love.

Eric Fisher Stone

Eric Fisher Stone is a graduate student at Iowa State University's MFA in Writing and the Environment program. His poems have recently appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Lyric, Yellow Chair Review, Turtle Island Quarterly, Uppagus, Zetetic, and Jersey Devil Press, among several others.