Pestilence

Once upon a time,
we and you
were more equally matched.
We, barefoot,
quick-witted brutes,
who were, truly,
just scratching a living
from your tangled
and thorny back.
And you,
like a rhinoceros,
offered up
your surface cast-offs
abundantly.
If you tolerated us,
it was only because
we had grown quite adept
at rooting ourselves,
at surviving deep
in your tussled hair,
and even a good scratch behind the ears,
a volcanic eruption,
a drought, a pestilence,
weren’t remedy enough.
But now, like so many termites,
who have reached the end
of the very last forest,
we stare out across the stumps,
at your skinned and arid spine.
One shake of your sallow mane,
might we not at last be cast off,
like flecks of loosened skin-dust,
into an eternity?

Copyright Ricky Barrow 2013

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