God of Mosquitoes (poem)

A summertime theology poem featuring “Alaska’s state bird.”

I intended to post this a couple days ago, after a conversation with my friend Barbara who told me she was attracted to Buddhism but “I kill mosquitoes.”  I was reminded again this morning as I walked to work from the bus stop & had my own non-ahimsa moment.

God of Mosquitoes

I sit here like a resource.
The mosquitoes come to harvest me.
Over there, beneath the tree,
others fly aimlessly, waiting
for blood-quickened flesh to pass by — a cat,
a dog, a human, a bird.

Those here are lucky: they
have found me.  But
my hand finds them,
first mindlessly, then
malevolently intent.
It smashes down in
summary judgment.

If they know a reason
to buzz about for the summer —
annoying my ears,
adding itch to my skin —
it must be a small reason
for them to die
with such ease.

[July 7, 1995]

P.S. Alaska’s state bird is really the willow ptarmigan.

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