Debriefing the Bug Guy

How did we come to Cuba from hello?
He stood guard at Guantanamo,
and before I can pry he points
to the treatment: massive canisters marked
Ultracide, Maxforce, First Strike, Bedlam.
Beads of bait will line my counters,
the pump and spray will ply poison
borders around my home no bugs will live to cross.

For days my thumbs pressed black ants flat,
rinsed them down the kitchen drain.
We have grown our home, turned over
half the yard, stirring sandy ant cities into ruin.
They are making a stand and declaring war,
one by one in long, determined lines.
But I have no patience for pests near our food,
for bugs near our own busy brood.

“I don’t like to talk about the army.
It feels like a different life.”
This is the bug guy I am talking with—
I do not often make conversation with these men
who enter my home to manage what I cannot.
He details his assignment
to a detainee who read philosophy
(the bug guy has a Masters degree in philosophy.
The bug guy is writing a book on Bertrand Russell).
His detainee friend talked family, far away,
how even if freed he doubted he could
face them, recline in the comfort of a life
I foolishly prop with figs, water, and light.

“Talking always worked best,
was always more effective.
In Camp Platinum the CIA guys
dragged him crying from room to room.”
The bug guy stands in my house talking CIA.
The bug guy does not breach guilt or innocence,
just philosophy and family and finally,
“I wonder where he is now.”

I collect the paperwork and make payment
before he leaves to spray the foundation,
seal off my home from invasion.
“I never once believed I’d be killing bugs for a living.”
I hand him my signature, a flurry of initials that confirm
I understand fully what he has done for me.
“We should talk about follow-up treatments.”
The bug guy walks toward his truck,
spotless and complicated in the drive.
The bug guy tucks my check into his breast pocket,
goes about our business.