Schistosoma mansoni1

Even in the ordinary world of thread,
wood, and little souls, let us be two red canoes.

Two canoes that slip spiny trough into spiny trough
though cicadas molt their hulls and leave

their shells to scrape against our keels,
line our bellies with amber-backed caskets.

Even as the wood bees gnaw on our rigging,
let them stack me along your ribs, and let us warp.

Warp until we crack. Warp until nothing
can slither or slip between our swollen bows.

Let the men tugging at our tethered sterns
measure their work with my body as far away

from your body as this black river will allow.
Let us measure our work with what is left against our chests.

1 Schistosoma mansoni is type a parasite, a blood fluke that often lives in the human body. “The females are delicate and slender, and the males are shaped something like canoes. Scientists consider them the most monogamous couples in the animal kingdom… “(A few homosexual flukes will also get together. While their fit isn’t tight, they will keep reuniting if a disapproving scientist should separate them.)”

Roger Reeves