Peter Venable: Life Is Good

I am in the order Siphonaptera.
For the unacquainted, siphon means “hollow tube”;
aptera means “without wings” – which is not a problem
since I do not fly. Nor do I blink. Ocular bristles
protects my two biconvex lenses like human eyelashes.
Wish I could wink like you can.

Hard plates called sclerites cover me.
I wear backward pointing hairs and
scurry easily between Brobdingnagian spikes,
skitter away from nails, teeth, and claws.

I use a needle-like drinking tube for meals,
like you humans would use a straw
to suck a red snapper cocktail.
My saliva numbs so I can siphon in peace.
We’re not that different when we dine, are we?
Like vampires, sunset is my Prime Time.

Lilliputian? I can catapult myself
with laser accuracy to my dinner buffet.
If I were your size, I’d jump 250 feet
vertically, 450 feet horizontally.
Your pole-vault record of 20 feet or
record long jump 29 feet is a big deal?
I’d do that on one hind leg.

I have alluring pronotal and ganal combs,
which charms and enchants females. Irresistible!
If I was human sized, my protuberance would
measure 13 inches – 2.5 times my body length. Ha!

After my ladies first thirst quencher, they lay
20 eggs a day, 5,000 or so over 2-3 months.
We are negligent parents – too busy sucking,
copulating copiously, and resting
over some 30 days.

Human hosts, a toast:
we hide in carpets, couches, rugs, chairs,
clothes and banquet on your furry pets
but we are always thirsty for
juicy human plasma cocktails.

Monochrome line graphic of a flea