Issue Twenty-Eight - Summer 2016


By Joan Colby

Article and photos in The National Geographic

The oribatid soil mite is a one-man band,
A Rube Goldberg concoction.
Green, orange, purple, pink,
Grotesque with a bluster of tendrils. Devilishly
Clever as the curse or blessing
Of evolution.

Mites devour bugs, promote infection
In a dog’s ear. They mount
Tanks of army ants. Eat their
Mothers. Plow the earth like peasants.
Specialists of design and
Advantage, their preferred habitats
Are bodies.

In horror, I read they fuck upon my
Face while I am sleeping. Attain a brief
Adulthood, lay eggs in follicles
I carefully soap and cream.
They fill up with shit and die
On my head, their chosen globe.

O, dreadful microscopic lives!
That sci-fi notion: how we might exist
As microbes on the eyelash of God.
Forgive our sins,
Monster trucks, ghastly helmets, gargoyles of
An ulterior civilization. How could we believe that love
Is our salvation.

Copyright Colby 2016