Whitefly settled on our undersides,
and though we bent to the wind
and turned to the rain
we could not shake
the eggs or hatchlings.
This did not go unnoticed,
and our pretty whooshing sound
was soon forgotten in light
of the plague we harboured.
We reminded the house
of the swamp, of hidden things,
of war and jungle beasts —
so were hacked up, tendril-pulled,
replaced by clean pine hedging.
But, as we did in Hiroshima,
we survived, in another part of the garden,
all wabi sabi and shinrin-yoku
with its magnolia, small cherry and acer trees.
Here the poet knew we had whitefly.
She tried soap and water —
which did not work.
But because she liked our woody music,
our green quills painting the air,
our imperfect calligraphy,
the restraint that could not be found before,
was lavished upon us,
and the white colonies were left.
They were not looked upon again,
or, in our presence, even spoken of.