Poems from "and no spiders were harmed"

You said I should write more love poems and

I said, I’m sorry, but I’ve been thinking about
sloths. Well, actually, the moths that live
on sloths. Nestle into their fur, take the slow,
slow ride through the rain forest. Once a week
the sloth descends to the forest floor. Defecates.
Female moths leap off; lay their eggs on the fresh
feces; jump back on. Their caterpillars nourish
themselves on the fetid feast, metamorphose
into moths, fly up into the canopy to find
their own sloths. They prefer the three-toed
over the two-toed. Who can figure attraction?
The algae-covered sloth fur is the only home
the sloth moths know. The only place they live.
I know it’s a Darwinian thing but fidelity
comes to mind. Commitment. Patience.
The world writes love poems all the time.

—First published in The Fiddlehead

 

Parthenogenesis

Female aphids have mostly dispensed
with men. They mass together
in their feminist world: mothers, daughters,
sisters, aunts, all living without a guy.
No first dates, no courtship. Just wham bam
and thank themselves. They don’t even lay eggs.
There’s a two-dollar word for begetting
their own daughters directly.
Inside their translucent green skin
you can see their developing young.
Out they come, perfect small renditions
of mother. Their own daughters
already growing inside.
They’re not the only
ones who’ve gone male-less.
Other bugs of course, a lizard here,
a salamander there. Some fish.
Even a bird or two.
You can see where this is going.
As I tell her this, my wife smiles.

—First published in Verse Wisconsin

I thought it was sunshine I wanted

instead, the misty gray damp brought
four tiger salamanders crossing
my path, and

later, cantaloupe. Sweet
cantaloupe. Damn
good cantaloupe.

—First published in Hummingbird