This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Bestiary


Schistosoma mansoni

What moon presides over the chance
meeting of egg with water,
miracidium with snail, forked-tail
cercarium with human skin?
The young vampires voyage
first through the lungs & then
to the heart, where like Cupid’s arrows
they pierce its left side & travel down
into the liver for their fateful pairing.
The female inhabits the male,
slides tongue-in-groove style
into his gynaecophoric canal
& latches on. Could anything be
more romantic than this life-
long nestle? Together
they navigate the narrow
tunnels thunderous with blood,
questing for the rich intestinal wall
where they will fasten & thrash
& begin to plant. And if their hosts
should have granulomatous reactions,
female or male, regardless of menses
their bellies may begin to swell,
gravid with a stranger’s eggs
conceived under a vagrant moon.

Series Navigation← SiphonophoreSacred Scarab →

19 Replies to “Fluke”

    1. No, this is still for the Bestiary project with Clive Hicks-Jenkins, though I don’t know if all the poems will push his buttons (to continue with Bill’s accordion analogy). It’s just that many of the most bizarre creatures are invertebrates, and critters in bestiaries do need to be strange and wondrous.

      1. All of the Bestiary poems punch my buttons. Every one. Just so that you know. (I’m in such a frenzy of work and admin at the moment, that I’m not always up to speed with Via Negativa. Please don’t take silence for a lack of enthusiasm. It just means I’m running fast.)

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