Cockroaches are one of the only insects that actually like to be touched,

are some of the only non-domesticated creatures

that crave physical attention, aren’t comfortable unless they’re wrapped

in the bodies of their companions, in the palm of your hand

tucked deep in the bottom of a shoe or the folds of a pocket or a hat.

If I had known that when we put the new wallpaper up

I would have left the cockroaches where they crouched, low,

against the wall, covered them carefully with paper and paste

circled the area on the wallpaper so I knew where they were.

I could have made it a routine to carefully stroke those circled spots

every time I went up and down the stairs,

knowing there was a little cockroach under there

contentedly gnawing on dried paste varnish

perhaps slowly tunneling a passage to escape

through the underside of the paper.

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