12 Degrees & Skiving

what began as year-long challenge has become perpetual until further notice

NaPoWriMo – April 3 – the tick

i woke up
with a tick in our bed
not a metaphor
an arthropod

alive
crabbish, crook-legged
on its back
flat and feedless, bloodless
and needless
to say
the cliche (or two)
of skin and hair (mine)
doing that dance
Kristeva understood
through the inexplicable skin of milk
the brain
teaches the body
to flutter, to tambourine
to edge wild-eyed and gagging
sweating from something
i’d slept with
legs naked
a crunchy
armoured something
the size of a fingernail
filling up in that moment
a perfect mould inside me
larger than a bear

beneath the dimpled carapace
i slid the lip
of a glass jar
smelling of pickled peperoni
contained in a skin of glass
i was brave again

i showed you and we discussed
ways of killing
and discussed
acquired and congenital lyme disease encephalitis allergies
which gave us reason to discuss
ways of killing
i think it died
reasonably happy
floating
in a pink sea of alcohol
its legs stiff with life
loose now, like kelp

and you decided to show your sister at the shop
and your hands were full with garbage bags
and you held the tick jar awkwardly

i just knew you’d drop it
if you tried the outside door

and I decided to help you
and i took too long to say so in italian
and you turned in the foyer to say goodbye, and

you bounced
the jar
obliquely
off my chest

swung your arm to catch it
midair
because sometimes
you catch things
midair
but you were
still holding the garbage

in that sudden city of glass
we swept
vacuumed, combed
could
not
find
the tick

till at last, the lid
and there, stuck fast
in the lip
a gin-blossom-pink
arthropod

tickpick

 

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