A howl.
It was my mother.

Two blots of blood on her toe
Showed where the centipede had stung
When she stepped on it unwittingly,
Tidying the storeroom.

Both writhed in pain.
Mother, as the venom drilled her toe
With rising ferocity, wailed helplessly
While the centipede
With numerous bruises made
By a blundering broom
Squirmed in silence.

I sat by her
Stroking her foot to no avail
Till the local doctor was ushered by a worried father.

I woke up to feel my mother’s fingers caressing my head.

I peered into the storeroom.
Only a brownish stain marked the place
Where it lay, battling in vain
To drag itself to a dusty haven.

Why doesn’t someone clean the floor?

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This poem is about a child's confused feelings of sympathy for both the mother and the centipede.