Aaron Angello: As a Boy

As a Boy

As a Boy, Five or Six Years Old

I would chase grasshoppers through the dry,

wild Colorado grasses, tall and swaying

together in silent, writhing waves.

I always carried an orange Sanka can

with holes punched into the plastic lid,

and filled it to the brim with the twitching,

snot-colored bodies, fighting

as if their little lives really mattered.


I’d come to an old stump deep in a grove

of aspens where the sun raged through the leaves

like a mad rainstorm of burning

arrows. I’d remove the bugs

one by one, and with a little

wooden pocket knife,

an eagle engraved in the handle,

(a gift from my father to me)

I’d chop their heads off,

and leave their bodies laying on the stump,

their strong legs twitching

like the second hand of a forgotten

pocket watch. I collected the heads

in a little jewelry box that once held

my mother’s pearl earrings.


I’d fantasized constructing a miniature guillotine

of popsicle sticks, fishing weights and a razor

blade for the purpose of more efficient grasshopper

decapitation, but the device never made it past

the planning stage – just a few sketches

in sky-blue and violet crayon in the white-space

of my G.I. Joe coloring book. This is just

as well really, because razor blades

are sharp, and I would have likely cut myself

and risked a rather painful infection.