Dung Beetle

In the desert your compass is cast skyward

for a night that pulls its collar tight.

Scientists place cardboard hats on beetles
to cover the dorsal eyes, obscure the Milky Way.

Stars are points on the chart, light fixtures,
like crumbs dropped on the path.

Polaris for dead reckoning,
but with nothing to draw a dotted line from—

wouldn’t you know they trample each other,
go in circles, disoriented like drunks?

When life hands you lemons
remember you hatched in dung.

Underrated shit-kicker.
Sheath-winged stargazer.

You make a world of it, a brooding ball,
like Atlas, the sky is a map on your shoulders.

Rolling across the desert,
manning the observatory.

Larissa Andrusyshyn completed an MA in creative writing at Concordia University. Her first book, Mammoth (DC Books, 2010), was shortlisted for the QWF First-Book prize and the Kobzar literary award. She is currently working on her second book which should be published in the fall of 2014. She runs writing workshops for at-risk youth in Montreal.