Old Lyme

Someone in the classroom
has written their report on Lyme disease,
and speaks with earnest gravity
about prevalence, arthritis,
the climate, guinea fowl.

Talented birds: they hunt lawns, peck
at the stone walls, eating ticks
like potato chips.
The presenter calls this
the urban legend of Martha’s Vineyard.

Now we look back
at the deer, all of the deer
and dogs and white-footed mice.
We switch slides, go through
our neighbors with the same afflictions,
all watching the ground
with sideways eyes.

Here they are: each
the point of a decimal, a speck,
discrete, a single bead,
the low hell of them swung
on the ends of heavy grasses,
questing, with front legs up
in passionate supplication.
They latch on as birthmarks,
sit, and swell.

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