A program of the TBA-ISD Career-Tech Center in collaboration with the National Writers Series

A program of the TBA-ISD Career-Tech Center in collaboration with the National Writers Series

A program of the TBA-ISD Career-Tech Center in collaboration with the National Writers Series

An Ode to the Bugs on the Windshield of the 2003 Buick Century- Riley Kate Robinson

The “plick” of bugs smacking the glass almost matched the pitter-patter
of rain
hitting and bouncing down the oak leaves,
in the forest during a summer storm.

They must have been full of whatever it is they eat,
as what remains of their lunch was smeared
over the windshield like the finger paintings
children run and give their mothers.

The front of our brick red car:
peppered like a Caprese salad,
sitting on a platter waiting to be consumed
by ants or picnic-goers alike.

Bugs sprinkled across the windshield
like constellations spread out over a clear night’s sky,
leading our car to the next stop,
pulling us down the road towards our destination.

My siblings and I squished in the backseat—
“No! MY arm is going on top.”
and “Dad? How many more Dora shows until we get there?”—
our only sense of time, a girl talking to her monkey.

The guts were a reminder of the long, fast road
that barely twisted and turned, unlike roads up north.
Marking our progress with the bridges we passed underneath and counted,
as we ignored the mile markers that drifted by.

The songs that played on the radio were foreign to us children.
I would later learn my parents hummed to Bon Jovi, Elton John, and Kid Rock.
It was almost as if the bugs liked them, because as notes sang over the speakers,
more of them seemed to come and listen.

Some may think the insects are a nuisance,
as they scrape them off the front of their cars, every so often tapping off the brush,
and mumbling about “those darn pesky things,”
unable to see the beauty in the pattern left behind.

But those who notice the finer details,
like me, who spot the bugs after a long trip or a short errand,
remembering all adventures they had accompanied me on,
even after they were squashed, legs contorted on the window—they were still there.

Now I and the other kids from the Buick are grown,
and the car itself doesn’t travel anymore,
but the sight of the bugs on a windshield still makes my heart twist
as if I were little again.

Those days the time seemed to stretch on and on and on,
and life didn’t move so fast,
as to leave us, grasping for the wings of no-see-ums,
wondering how long they had lived before we saw them.