Cockroach Days

Emily Manger

Deakin University

The best of us at times confess

to feeling somewhat slightly less

deserving of our size and sense

than oily shell and spiny legs

And well, perhaps a touch grotesque

more at home beneath the desk

to wax a little kafka-esque

in pestilence, we feel the pest

We spend our days in furtive hurry

into corners, scuttle, scurry

skulk and scamper, run and rush

ever dread that final crush

Body language singing guilt

scavenging where things are spilt

on filth we’re fed, and spread disease

provoke embarrassment, unease

Had we thoughts, we’d try to guess

what higher power we distressed

what sin could earn us our descent

to be the prey of household pets

To end such dread unsightly things

with empty heads and flightless wings

beneath the feet, above the worms

to make our feast on dirt and germs

We earn our grub in grease and grime

the floor is where we cringe and dine

we move from hunger, hide from death

had we lungs, we’d hold our breath

Each dim recess we infest

and ponder how we once transgressed

to be with such existence blessed

in pestilence, we are the pest

And as our quest, we do it well

with spiny legs and oily shell

unwelcome guests, condemned to dwell

then find our rest, in a motel.


Emily Manger spends her days writing poems and her nights performing them around Melbourne’s spoken word scene. Occasionally, she even works on her PhD thesis.