Uncanny Vale

Home to the Literary Creations
of Erin Wilcox

Eleodes Armata

Spiral Orb (2012)

Where to begin with you,
pinacate beetle,
the signature headstand
you strike
to spray
noxious fluid
in self-defense,
your femoral spines,
sensitive antennae,
or the hollows
beneath wings
you do not use,
for you prefer to
stroll the desert
keep low
near rotting
fruit and leaves
and seeds
the ants discarded
in their
dump sites

Perhaps your treatment in film
deserves mention
how you’re fit to be
spat on
fit to be
by the likes of
Clint Eastwood
and Gian Maria Volonté,
whose fist collapsed
your exoskeleton
as Mortimer’s round
would crush his chest
in the final showdown
of For A Few Dollars More

You deserve an Oscar
best supporting role
along with the
velvet mesquite
and palo verde
from which
this nation hung
its founding myths:
tough, pretty whores
the red man who captures them
the noble cowboy
meting out justice

Here lies
our Western manifesto
to find the level
of your mandible,
an outlaw history
kicking, jerking
at the end of a rope
its windpipe crushed
by its own weight

together with your cousins,
the fungus beetle
the root borer
you return the lynching tree
to the land
you love
to walk
and feed upon,
your kind makes up
one-third of all animal life
on Earth

My God. There you go,
ambling past saguaros
like a ‘57 Chevy on the main drag,
John Wayne’s got nothing on
your true grit,
you know when to hole up
wait out the heat
when to point your thorax
at an unwelcome guest
and fire the six-gun

They call you stinkbug, darkling,
but we are extras
in your mythology,
when empty strip malls
bear witness
to the limits
of our collective sight
you and your kith
will be
our demolition team,
you undertake
with quiet confidence
tear down
through countless generations
what cannot last,
plant eggs
in arid soil
as you prepare the ground
for your beginnings


Bioblitz Reading

Erin Wilcox reads "Elodoes Armata" at National Geographic Bioblitz.

Turtle Song

Erin Wilcox and friends dance to park ranger's original song.