In the Nit of Time

In the Nit of Time

He married
the only pets he acknowledged,
but his secret pet, the one that he began to look like
in the way that the eyebrows of those who own schnauzers
flourish, and the noses of those walking dachshunds
narrow–let’s not even talk
of people with pugs–was
a little louse.

He let it feed
on his very good head, making it a bed
not of straw exactly, but some Rumpelstiltskin-spun
facsimile–a faked
Rumpelstiltskin–for he was superficially
a tall man, and could not, in truth,
spin gold;

but what was most fun (for him)
was just to hold the louse
between thumb and forefinger–even as it rolled
into a protective ball–the louse fetal position–

Oh, what a ball, he thought,
to see its slim limbs distraught,
and to think of how it held inside
his blood,
that blood from his very good head,
worth its weight in gold,
or in something anyway, and thinking of how
it might multiply, he gently re-nested the louse
in his straw
in awe of his investing prowess,
as the louse, making do,
grated his pate again.


Poem of sorts for Hannah Gosselin’s post on Real Toads to write of a totem animal.  The pic is not a louse but a recent pic of mine of a bug anyway (a mosquito hawk, I think).  (It’s very late where I am!)\

Sorry to make another plug, but check out my new book, Dogspell!  It’s a lot of fun.  On Amazon.  When at Amazon, check out my other books!  1 Mississippi, Going on Somewhere, Nose Dive, and Nice.  



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13 Comments on “In the Nit of Time”

  1. I must say I love the way you describe people looking like their dogs… and then imagine to have a louse (or maybe even a tick) as totem… I can see many bloodsucker this apply to, yet how fascinating how he let himself be sucked… maybe he knows himself too well.

  2. I love the way you begin a sentence and then talk about things midstream and then go back to the previous first sentence started…like in your opening….and I love your topic…really cool poem, K!! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Rosemary Nissen-Wade Says:

    Your louse poem is hilarious! (And so dead-pan.)

  4. brian miller Says:

    ha. making a pet of a louse is quite interesting. perhaps in my frame of reference it would be a tick, with all the deer that bring them in my yard. an interesting (although unusual thought) that spins my thoughts out elsewhere on other oddities we could make into a pet, if we were a bit desperate. humorous.

    when i was in nepal i had this huge spider in the corner of my room that became a bit of a pet, a friend at least in that he cleaned up a few of the mosquitos, which were def not very friendly – and tend to carry diseases that required the six shots i needed prior to visiting.

    nice on your book k. good to see you as well.

  5. I love the rambling conversational tone in this poem so much. An unusual totem, that man had……this was very entertaining to read and envision…..if slightly gruesome, LOL.

  6. Wow! What a strange little poem! I enjoyed it’s humor very much!

  7. Brendan Says:

    I don’t know why this reminds me of the Republican National Convention. Channelling the hateful bug in the pate … A sort of dogs of a feather poem, employing jarring connections to fashion a more faithful portrait. What a ball.

  8. hedgewitch Says:

    Donald instantly came to mind–marrying his pets, spinning not-true gold, etc–and very well executed metaphor all through, Karin–terrifyingly apt, unfortunately. Brought chills just thinking about having to be as close as that louse to an even bigger one.

  9. piano warm Says:

    This is so good.

    These are my favorites:

    “He let it feed
    on his very good head”

    “Oh, what a ball, he thought,
    to see its slim limbs distraught”

  10. gillena Says:

    Luv the way your thoughts purposefully strayed in this one

    “Rumpelstiltskin–for he was superficially
    a tall man, and could not, in truth,
    spin gold;”

    Much love…

  11. Marian Says:

    Is it weird that I feel a kinship with this guy you’ve expressed so vividly? Must get my head examined. Haha!

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