Like a snow flea,
wingless but spring-loaded,
its only defense being to launch itself
in a random direction,
but which sometimes ends up
right back in the same spot.
Which absorbs moisture through
a life-long feeding tube in its abdomen
& breathes directly through its thick skin.
Whose blood contains an antifreeze-like protein
that may turn out to have commercial applications
in ice cream & the storage of organs for transplant.
Which joins a million others of its kind
in late winter — cabin-fever time —
for mass migrations across
the frozen Serengeti of the woodlot,
where they are often mistaken for ashes, black pepper,
or some other dark seasoning.
Which continues to molt
even after reaching maturity
& alternates between stages when it can have sex
& stages when it can eat,
shedding its skin after each.
Which reproduces without physical contact:
the male deposits a spermatophore,
the female stops by later & picks it up.
Which can walk on water.