Digging Back

Here’s a weird little poem of mine that dotdotdash published back in 2009. I’m not sure if they’re still around (my half-hearted googling suggests they might not be), but they used to (and possibly still do) put together a brilliant little magazine. I don’t think Host has appeared anywhere else.


The encrusted 

growth at the top of

my shin is the shape 

of a bivalve’s convex shell.

From a tiny puncture at its lower 

edge, a slender black extension 

emerges and then retracts,

barbed at intervals 

like an insect’s leg.

The one who steps in, I presume,

is my father. Like 

a Band-Aid he warns,

and drags back 

a strip of the scab

to reveal the movement of

something large and undeniably 

insectoid. The glossy hornet

banded black and yellow

would pass for a plastic one

but for its rhythmic twists

and the stinging panic it 

plants in my now-open 

wound. Reaching in 

and pinching behind its head,

he looks off to one side,

stays his breath,

and it’s out,

trailing a couple of wings

still wetly connected

by strands of anaemic flesh.



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