“A Pestilence” by David Mason

David Mason


At night a needle of sound nears my ear,
waved off by a drowsy hand, yet the whine
had a winged and long-legged body I see
this morning, afloat above my coffee cup.
Still here, still living, my little enemy?

I’ve made the journey to another year,
another island where such creatures are
in all their hunger, poised upon a nerve,
their being honed into the sharpest spike.
They too are dodging danger in the night.

from Rattle #73, Fall 2021


David Mason: “Though Tasmania is famous for poisonous spiders and snakes, we’re not really bothered by such things. It was the more common pest, the mosquito, that was bugging me when I wrote this poem. I had just escaped lockdown in the U.S. and come home to Tasmania, narrowly avoiding hotel quarantine, and the word ‘pestilence’ was in the air. So was this rather persistent mosquito. I began to think that he and I were locked in the same struggle, the same relationship, and I had no desire to donate blood to his cause. But we do live in relation to everything, don’t we?—even the things we would sometimes like to avoid.”

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