Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for an elegy, with a tinge of hope. My daughter’s provided the inspiration.
Elegy for a Ladybug
My daughters come in from the yard,
the younger one kneels by the door
her hands cupping something.
The older one digs in a drawer
for paper, scissors, tape and a marker
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“Making something important,” she replies.
They whisper together, then the older one
begins cutting and writing.
“Come here Mom,” they say
and I walk to their crouched figures
expecting a shout of Boo! or a giggle
or to see they’ve been up to something
sneaky but innocent.
Instead, my older daughter says,
“We’re going to say nice things about
this dead ladybug we found outside.”
There, on the floor, a ladybug husk,
its bold red muted to a brownish orange.
She’s taped to a paper, with the words
R.I. P. Ladybug, ? — 2018
scrawled on top in blue.
A plastic case set on top,
keeping her, like Snow White.
“She was pretty, and bright,” my young daughter begins.
“She was good at flying and crawling, and though
we don’t know how long she lived, she probably
had a nice life,” my older daughter says. “Your turn, Mom.”
I find my own mouth empty, at first,
my thoughts too full of gratitude for my girls,
but I meet their sweet and sombre tone,
“We wish we could have known her while she lived.”
My older daughter nods, gently picks up
the paper and the plastic case, sets it
on a cabinet, between a painting she made
and an overgrown spider plant.
“A nice place to rest,” she says.
Nature is safe in these small hands.