by Winston Derden

Picking fleas,
I’ve memorized every freckle and mole
on each ankle and calf,
those dark, stationary dots
that attach without siphons,
that course the blood, not suck it.

Harmless largely,
itchy at times,
vaguely annoying
like the nip of a flea,
I ignore them,
or would,

but for a melanoma excised
early in metastasizing
willowy rhizomes
through adjacent flesh.
Rarely though, do either
bear seeds of plague.

Still, tingling trespasses alarm me,
and I search for movement
among the stationary,
curse the memory
of an agéd, hateful cat,
recently deceased,

who left behind this infestation,
these dots among dots that connect to remind
of the path that lies waiting.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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