Dan Stryk


The parasitic wars through which we

Tolerate our pets. The pink bright

Crusts of furless skin like clowns’

Tights down the backs of legs—quick

Twists of necks to nip their bellies

And their butts, their appetites

Gone flat. Midnight we awaken from

A deep sweat, beds acrawl, red pustules

Like small berries tingling down

Our nail-gouged legs. But then,

Thighs swabbed with alcohol, we rise

To pamper them the more, feeling

World-wise and mature—ready

For our long imperfect lives.