“The Blighted Laureate” by Andrew Benson Brown

Brown beetles plague the laurel tree.
They sit on twigs and dine on leaves,
A throne-usurping peasant mob.
Infested branches, twisted free,
Are shaped into a hollow crown
And given to a gloomy queen.
She reaches for her teeming prize
To make her head renowned,
And fumbles.

The itching starts, the redness swells.
The beetles raise their guillotine:
Crawling, they bite her honeyed scalp
Shampooed with artificial smells
As drooping, pitted bays detach
And fall like birds with broken wings.
Her brittle wreath, now barren, cracks.
As fingers lift to scratch,
It crumbles.

Andrew Benson Brown was a graduate student at George Mason University before taking too many classes outside his discipline coincided with the reality of Debt. He now works as a children’s caseworker in rural Missouri. In his spare time, he reads obscure classics, writes things of little market value, and exercises far more than is befitting for a modern intellectual.