The Flea

For him the truth is a flavor,
a pulse made of nutriment,
a living mountain of breath.
Even pinched between
the fingers and released, he springs
to perfect absence, beyond punishment,
a celebrant of undetectable freedom.
Cinder-speck, a vibrant
fiend of punctuation,
no bigger than a typesetter’s
semicolon, there he is again.
And again. He leaves tiny misery,
his wound angry but subtle,
a meal cadged by a parasite whose disguise
is the squirrel’s scurry,
or the mastiff’s drowse.
Hiding when he cannot leap, he is a fugitive
who stays where he is, misery to the tomcat,
vexation to the hound,
purveyor of infection in hosts
too mute upon the summer field
to know the name of what
steals their peace.
Now he says, meaning then.
Here he says, meaning there. Too late.
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