I am your mother as the horse
is mother to the louse, endlessly
intricate interlocking systems
which the blissfully sucking louse
can’t imagine and never must, sums
up in some louse-sign for God,
a quiver of hairs of the thorax,
a shimmer of inarticulate
gratitude for satiation and for
preservation of self, self, self.
I am sick of it, eight billion toddlers,
not to mention my beautiful beetles,
a horse plagued with lice, and yet.
I am your mother as you are mother
to the mosquito that hovers
over your arm as you write,
mote of thirsty gold quivering
with desperation to the boom
of great streams in blue tunnels
and pipes just below the soft leather
scrim of skin, endless life
you’ll never miss and won’t let her have,
enough for a thousand generations.
If she tries to drink you will want
to swat her flat, and she must try,
for her unborn young, for her life. And maybe
eventually, weary of swatting,
worn down by importunity,
unwilling compassion, fear
of the insect apocalypse blossoming
all around you like a mushroom
cloud, you will incline your head. Fall
still. Let her drink her fill
and float away, a dandelion spore
on the summer air, in the hot
flash of May morning light.