A tiny speck of shining black I sway on
Grasses, brace myself to bracken winds
That dance their trails between my prey.

As flaccid epidermis hangs un-stretched
My patience never falters as, once more,
I raise my Halers to the skies.

Vibrations of this fleecy feast that wander, hapless,
Unaware of countless kind that scheme and
Sense their sweat and breath. I

As mountains move within my grasp
I use a million hooks and hairs to grip
And pull and heave my way through tangled forests white.

The pulsing forest floor awaits my needles
Barbed and sharp as any butchers knife;
I choose my spot and brace.

I stab ferocious points and shake till sheath
Is buried deep; then ease my needles further still
And push my face beneath the skin.

With analgesic spit and spew combined with
Curdled blood and bile. I feast upon my
New best friend and drink her health once more.

My unborn children thank her now, the wizened
Ewe, the sacred cow. ‘Ixodes: - masters of the skin! ”
We drink our fill and swell.

I sense the stars a fourteenth time, retracting jagged
Chitinous probes, my skin is taut, my store is full
So, to the underworld I fall.

I’ll wander years among the folds of countless
Ferns and trampled fields. Until my children scale
This lonely, grassy knoll, and raise their arms to God.

by Paul Murdoch

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