Absorbed in deadheading roses
peonies and day lilies
weeding between the ruffled heads
of lettuce, the toppled rhubarb stalks
pinching back tomato plants
pruning stray branches
to let sunlight brighten
I ignored an infestation
of sawfly larvae
on the not-yet-blooming loosestrife
until they had made ribbons
of the leaves. Isn’t that how it always is?
Problems multiply unnoticed
in the lea of our preoccupations
until they have grown riotous.
It’s not that the insects hadn’t left signs—
tiny balls of excrement marking their journey—
but that I hadn’t focused
close enough to see them
until I did, and then the trail
as were the silvery greenish creatures
curled peacefully under the leaves.
Almost phosphorescent, they were
beautiful in their own way
and might have become more so
had I let them live to see
their wings unfold—
had I let them become themselves.
But I didn’t.