The Patient Tick

A tick, through no fault of his own,
cannot jump. He is not the agile flea. No,

you must present yourself at his residence.
The tick sees your presence there as consent

for intimacy. On his grass blade he crouches,
waiting for your visit– he can wait a long time,

a year without eating is nothing to the abstemious
tick . The hard-shelled arachnid doesn’t know he’s sick:

Lyme & Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
bother him not at all. It’s just something

he ate. Once on board, the tick burrows in
and drinks your blood, and he swells, O, he swells!

He becomes a grape with legs.
You could never slake such a thirst-

you would burst trying to hold it all.
Sated, the tick will fall to Earth, his tiny legs

useless under his bulging sack of blood.
He is ridiculous and oh, so vulnerable–

any passing possum can snatch him up, a crunchy
snackeroo! If you’ve never fed a tick, don’t worry –

there are 850 different types. One of them
is probably waiting for you now.


Keith Welch lives in Bloomington, Indiana where he works at the Indiana University Herman B Wells library. He has no MFA. He has poems published in 8 Poems, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, Dime Show Review, and Literary Orphans, among others. He enjoys complicated board games, baking, talking to his cat, Alice C. Toklas, and meeting other poets. His website is keithwelchpoetry.com. On Twitter: @TheBloomington1.

Categories: Poetry

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