A very hagfishy Valentine’s Day

hagfish 1

For Valentine’s Day, my love designed and knitted me an Atlantic hagfish, A.K.A. slime eel — Myxine glutinosa. Apparently, she was the first on Ravelry to do so. While to the uninitiated this might seem like a less than subtle suggestion that I am a slime-ball and a bottom-feeder, in fact it was a highly romantic gesture, a response to my “Ten Simple Songs” (8-9, if you’re in a hurry). I was initially going to hold off posting that poem until Valentine’s Day, but then I thought, what if she doesn’t like it? Perhaps slime eel references don’t belong in a serious love poem. I guess I needn’t have worried.

hagfish 2

Hagfish purposely tie themselves in knots to remove excess mucus. Thankfully, this plush, knitted hagfish is not mucilaginous in the slightest. (See additional photos on the project page at Ravelry.)

I don’t own many works of art, and none that please me quite so much as this. Folks, don’t ever let anyone tell you that poetry doesn’t pay! Also, heed the wise words of Robert Fulghum (often wrongfully attributed to Dr. Seuss):

We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.
Robert Fulghum, True Love

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. Promise someday a shared DB/RR mantel, hung with hagfish Xmas stockings. The precipitating poem clearly deserved such an equally wonderful objet.


  2. “Actual love poem”

    The poem rose, pink,
    precise, intact,
    meme’s light

    a prickly
    at first blush.

    Palpable mizzle sifts
    down, tho
    the poem dies

    demeaned, unless
    love is enough
    for my stale brain.

    — Bob BrueckL


  3. Thanks for the kind comments, y’all. It’s good to get some independent confirmation that the knitted hagfish is indeed a wonderful thing — that I’m not completely blinkered by lurve.


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