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Ixodes ©

Paul Murdoch
Alexandria, Scotland
2004

A tiny speck of shining black, I sway on
Grass and brace myself to bracken winds
That dance their trails between my prey.

As flaccid epidermis hangs un-stretched
My patience never falters as, once more,
I raise my Halers to the skies.

Vibrations of this fleecy feast that wander, hapless,
Unaware of countless kind that scheme and
Sense their sweat and breath.

As mountains move within my grasp
I use a million hooks and hairs to grip
And pull and heave my way through tangled forests white.

The pulsing forest floor awaits my needles,
Barbed and sharp as any butchers knife;
I choose my spot and brace.

I stab ferocious points and shake till sheath
Is buried deep; then ease my needles further still
And push my face beneath the skin.

With analgesic spit and spew combined with
Curdled blood and bile. I feast upon my
New best friend and drink her health once more.

My unborn children thank her now, the wizened
Ewe, the sacred cow. 'Ixodes: - masters of the skin!"
We drink our fill and swell.

I sense the stars a fourteenth time, retracting jagged
Chitinous probes, my skin is taut, my store is full
So, to the underworld I fall.

I'll wander years among the folds of countless
Ferns and trampled fields. Until my children scale
Some grassy knoll, and raise their arms to god.


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