Stick Instects

We landed in a world of glass

And crawled around the jungle.

A finger came down from the sky

To make us bend and stumble.


We nibbled on the juicy leaves

And sifted through the clover.

A finger tapped upon the glass

And made us topple over.


We sucked on moisture from the air

And slowly fed, and blindly.

A finger pointed to and fro

And mocked, and laughed unkindly.


We multiplied, and soon escaped

And hid, and donned disguises.

We spread ourselves through inner space

In different shades and sizes.


We’re crawling up the curtains

And behind the radiator.

We snuggle in the laundry.

We’ll be in your bedclothes later.


We really are the perfect pet,

Such lovely little charmers.

We’ll slyly slither down your shirt

And sleep in your pyjamas.


We’re just some little sticks on legs,

Such harmless little creeps.

But wait until we find the place

Where that pointing finger sleeps.


For fingers too are only sticks,

Such juicy little dishes.

(You think we’re vegetarians,

But that’s quite against our wishes.


We munch our victims through the night

But what’s a certain bet is

By dawn we’re back behind the glass

Benignly chewing lettuce.)


So keep your fingers to yourselves,

For we’re hungry and we’re sprightly. Make sure that glass is triple glazed

And keep that lid on tightly.


Jeff Gallagher

Jeff Gallagher is from Sussex, UK. His poems have featured in publications such as Rialto, The High Window and The Journal. He has had numerous plays for children performed nationwide. He was the winner of the Carr Webber Prize 2021. He has been a teacher of English and Latin. He also appeared in an Oscar-winning movie. He has no handles.