Waterford Class of 2018 alum, Julia Scheding, was the recipient of the UC San Diego Stewart Prize in Poetry. One of the poems amongst those submitted for the award is called “The Bug Project ”, it is about Waterford’s bug project—a long tradition within Waterford’s science curriculum. Read the award-winning poem below:
The Bug Project By Juliana Scheding
These orders I remember classifying and catching.
Hymenoptera, my first catch,Coleoptera, the hesitant approach,Ephemeroptera, too fleeting to find,Lepidoptera, requiring the most delicate perservervation, Odonata, the slow kill.
Hymenoptera: Hiking with my mother I was terrifiedto find that the first swipeof my net now harboredan angry buzzing,a wasp’s sting.
I was a coward. I let my mother reach her hand-armed only with plaster of parisand rubbing alcohol in a jarinside the net.Gently she coaxed the creatureinto the jar, and deftlyshe closed the lid.I aspired to her ruthlessness.
Coleoptera: Between the verdant drapesand tangles of grassI crouchedon the abandoned train tracksthat led to Draper Park.I stalked a stink beetle.From behind its matte black armor, the little warriorbrandished its behind.This gave me pause,but I was now determined.The hunt was mine.
Ephemeroptera: Though it was Springthe Mayfly eluded meuntil I saw my jealousyreflected in it’s fine,needle-pierced wingsas Ford Christensenbrought a perfectIt had spacing that calmedthe most agitated mind, andspecies I had sought fruitlessly.
Mr. Bromely’s honeyed praise of Ford’s successbitters my tongue to speak ofto this day.
Lepidoptera: I remember the cocoa powderof the moth’s wingrubbed between my thumb andforefinger. I remember the regret forruining the paletteof my collage,but not the mourning.
Odonata: Oh, the chill that went throughme when I saw the dragonfly’shead move.I must not have left herto suffocate humanelyin the jar for long enough.I yelped, Frankensteinsuddenly aware of what shehad done.
The dragonfly’s eyes swallowed her head inproportion, all the betterto see me with.But all I could see wasthe needle securing her in place,speared directly through herthorax.
To understand the world I had to make it mine.I etherized it,impaled it,and admired my work.
December 10, 2019
October 26, 2022
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