Seven-spot Ladybird

I suppose most thought I wasn’t worth
attacking or eating, little did I advertise
my wares, my curly hair neither surfer
nor hodad coifed, but you found
my blue eyes and scarlet climbing
blaze secret, and up you came,
up the bridle path of my ways
and means, touching lightly
the joys of my trips, the sorrows
of my passes and losses.

My father was a shipbuilder beetle,
my mother a washerwoman.
They met on a seaside wharf,
watching a parade of schooners
pass. He was an expert stone
skipper. She was as quiet
as a sail in a doldrum.
Any more about them
is but weakly supported,
but they both loved aphids.

We came of age in a time
of flowers, and we learned
to imitate the tactics of fight
and flight, neither voracious
nor temperate, rode tides
and winds, and though we
grew hungry, we did not eat
one another, but signaled
warnings and hopes, lights
and loves, reasons of being.

You came up my legs crawling,
spreading your wings, tickling,
the crops ripe, the weather warm,
the music in the distance
peaceful, the guitar strings silk
wound. And you taught me
the rhyme can be changed,
and anyway most ladybirds
went unpublished, the more
sweet this one I saved for you.