A bloom of ladybugs is called a loveliness, I think as a tear streaks across my face like a firework scream in the open, July sky. A loveliness.

My mom bought a swarm of them once. Let them loose on a golden chain tree bejeweled with aphids. Turned the right way, those green lice hummed in the afternoon, and the sun ran through them with the same ease as the leaves the aphids drank dry.

That loveliness, that cloud of spotted red, hovered over the tree and kissed the parasites off the pale, shivering bark until it was nothing but a heaving, crawling mass of insect legs and beetle shells hard as soldiers’ helmets. Their feasting smelled like lawn clippings baked onto the cement patio. The marble-blue sky was as clear as a glass of sweating sweet tea, and off in the backdrop of backyard summer, the pot-bellies of the clouds scraped against the ghost mountain peaks and fell into their valleys like sun-struck honeysuckle. It was too lovely to breathe. 

And many backyards and beetles later, as the tears step up my eyelids and dive down my speckled skin, I think of how lovely it would feel to have my parasites kissed away.

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