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Janice N. Harrington's Poetry


In the sideyard, this small hub: a child
clasping a cotton string bound to a June bug's legs.


Maybe the iridescent minstrel will weary and die.
Maybe its leg will shear and cast off its bridle.
Unfortunate machine, maybe it doesn't know
we are held and bound by prescribed orbits.
Yet the child will never weary,


not of a June bug's hums, the way it strums the air
like a sawmill in the distance or the low murmur,
m-hmm, of a Baptist Church on Sunday morning,
nor will she tire of its turning. How many times
around? Never enough. Turn


and you are that cotton string, a well's rope,
an unraveling doily, or the yellow thread
that cinched Webster's tobacco pouch. Turn
and you are a June bug's dolorous drone.


Traveler, believe the stars are bright beetles
tied to strings of light. Believe that a brown girl wields
these lambent arcs, that wild vibrations
tremble the tips of a brown girl's fingers. Believe


that you are a June bug tethered
to a cotton string, ceaselessly turning
but never enough, held by implacable delight,
your blue-black wings flared and ringing.