Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Questions to a Grasshopper

By Janisse Ray

Grasshopper, do you have a husband

waiting for you at home, under some sumac

roof?  Or a son who yet needs you?

In the grasshopper bank, is your account

low?  Is the Times waiting on an article

that you must squeak up out of your armored

head and from what you have deciphered

with those waving wands?

Is the rent do on your leaf, and do you

have to pay somebody for the water that falls free

from the sky?  To whom do you owe your food?

Are you paying for grasshopper roads and

grasshopper schools and grasshopper hospitals

and grasshopper police and some kind of insect

library filled with wondrous leafy scrolls?

Do you have a president?  Are you asked

to fight, to kill your own?  Must you pay for it?

Or are you free, as you seem, to go

bursting through the stalks of dry grasses,

among strawberry leaves and yarrow,

curious and flippant, without direction,

unwary, obligated to nothing?