To the Locust of the Swarming Variety

This is a combination of two epistolary prompts:  Margo Roby’s Tuesday Tryouts suggested that we consider one of several self-portrait images as part of the process of addressing a letter to someone, and We Write Poems’ Prompt #81 is also based on the same idea, writing a letter to an important historical figure.  Salvador Dali’s self-portrait inspired me to write a letter from his perspective to a locust, an animal of which he had unreasonable fears and which appears frequently in his paintings.


To the Locust of the Swarming Variety:

Lobster of the land, you perch like a million crooning prophets on the dusky plateau which exists under the eyelid, gathering in numbers like your ancestors did when they flew over Pharaoh’s land as one endless creature, blighting the sun from the sky, the grass from the fields. Still you remain as one, solitary, with your reptilian demeanor, crustacean legs thrust out, your outside skeleton as articulate and terrifying as a madman’s dream. At the abdomen, where you perceive the world through sound, the ants, too, gather, having smelled your disease. Your alien head is bent forward, bowed as if praying; I wait and watch because I know the meaning of prayer, I know that terrible stance at the foot of the bed. You bow to no God; you have the predator’s glazed stare, Death’s black eyes. Not repentance, but a shadow paused the moment before devouring.  You dig holes in skin the consistency of wax, tunnel through the human body. I see you behind my eyes, waiting under the sagging mask of my face, and I can only keep vigil, day and night, to defend my brain from your multiplying teeth. I beg you to make your exit from that parched, hidden place. There is nothing for you there; the undisturbed sleep of reason will never fall upon those sands.

Yours eternally,

Salvador Dalí

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