Okey Ndibe
POETICS
 
Illegal Mosquito

Thirty-three thousand feet in suspension
My thoughts remained earth-bound.
I was perched on a front row seat in “Economy”
Shoulder bunched, leaned to the aisle
My best to see to it that the tar of me
Did not discolor the skin seated next
Perfume and indifference wafting my way
It seemed in equal measure.

Then I saw—
It was—
A thing too tiny indeed
To be given a name at first glance
It rowed to and fro
Then banked and disappeared
Yet, in that spliced moment, what a row it made.

If you listened, you could have heard its air
A song woven out of a protracted hiss and a quick kiss
Was this one an undocumented alien?

Perhaps this flimsy stowaway
Was a native of the West Nile region
Headed for North America
To mar outdoor schemes and dreams
To scar the brows of doctors
Scurrying for antidotes.

Bookmakers could make hay off the odds
Of this illegal squeaking past vigilant eyes
Trained to tell homeland mosquitoes apart
From alien vectors of malaise and death.

My lips quivered in involuntary prayer:
Circle back, oh passportless peregrine,
And give a West Nile bite
Sharp enough to swipe the sneer
Off my pretty neighbor’s face. 

 


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