Certain ticks found on deer harbor the bacterium in their stomachs. Lyme disease is spread by these ticks when they bite the skin permitting the bacterium to infect the body. Lyme disease can cause abnormalities in the skin, joints, heart and nervous system.
I sat on the ground because
that’s what the boulder was doing.
It seemed only right.
I laid down on my back in the leaf duff
so I could join the giant oak tree
in tracking the sun.
But this was a woods with
a clear view beneath the canopy,
everything but the rocks & ferns reduced
to telltale pellets.
I should’ve kept my distance.
On the way home, three times
I felt something on the side of my face
& couldn’t dislodge it.
Hours later, at supper,
a tiny, red & black barnacle of an insect
dropped from my collar & began inching
across the table: a deer tick.
My thumb came down
& crushed it against the smooth white wood.
Clear views are dangerous here.
Only a sick forest can harbor
10/30/07: Lines subtracted from last stanza, and different lines added to third stanza.
10/18/07: Lines added to last stanza in response to reader comments.