A thick-crusted exoskeleton
crawls like a time capsule
over my son’s open hand.
I don’t know that he’s ever
been happier, making a bridge
of his little palm and fingers,
a sanctuary between the driveway
and the concrete floor of the garage.
It’s almost as if it knows the difference
between his tenderness and my tendency
to kill insects. When I step closer,
it rolls itself into a rigid ball.
I step back and watch it unfurl, crawling
once more over the bridge of his hand
as if choosing to live, to feel
his warmth and tenderness again.
Brandon McQuade was born and raised in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He earned his B.A. from the University of New Brunswick Saint John and his M. Phil in Irish Writing from Trinity College Dublin. For a selection of poems from his second collection, Bodies, he was the recipient of the 2022 Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award. He lives in Northern Wyoming with his wife and their children.