Host

Monty Reid
(for skh)

Epidemiology and microbiology are better guides to our future than any of our hopes and plans.

                                 -       John Gray


Everyone occupies the same spacious rung on the food chain; everyone is potentially a sacramental meal.

                              -        Peter Straub



Enchante

Come in, my friends
my sprites
my microscopic angels.

There is no body left.
This is not about loss.

To be alive
is to be alive with you.

The cloaks of invisibility
are gone.

All your precision
all your finitude

is not who you are.

The body is not exhausted
by explicability

but by your hunger.




It Means Dissolve

A story begins every time it enters.

Not in the tongue or the brain, a story never begins there, no matter
how much we want to believe it, that
it begins with us, our words.

Each segment, or proglottid, of the flatworm is more like an individual
within a colony since each is a complete sexual unit.

These are the ceaseless divisions that make up
the story of the soul, how it has been parsed and segmented,
so you can maintain the human illusion

so you can remain the host

and how each segment can generate the entire
animal with its flame cell and four-bulbed scolex

that dissolves the host flesh as it passes through
on its way to the testes, which it will also lyse

as it looks for something beautiful
or more beautiful

to remove.




Without Knowing It

In the little paradise, where the hostas and mosses
have their shady corner, and the snails slick ribbons of chlorophyll
from point A to point B, and their mantles pulsate

swollen and bright

because Leuchochloridium have entered
first the pancreas and then the tentacles and want the robins.

They want to be taken up.
And the robins can’t resist whatever needs them so relentlessly.

This always how paradise begins
without knowing it.

Accessory suckers latch onto the gut-lining of all the philosophers
of paradise, those who claim that nothing can penetrate
the ring around the animal and sulk among their quiet hostas

even as the enzymes that dissolve host tissues do their work
and the endothelial linings become sticky

without knowing it

in the little paradise, purple blooms, robins sing.




Chagas

At night, the kissing bug climbs out of the wall
and kisses

the salts and acids of your lips, of your eyelids

in the cool room you were sleeping in
in the vapours of reality you were sleeping in
in the mosquito nets.

Do you know how you got it, this idea
of an inside, the vector of an inside
how you have rubbed it into the opening

and you itch.

Imagine the contiguous things, which
have no imagination themselves
and so are drawn to you

where the skin is thinnest
and the imaginary has its surface markers
but no cure.

The kissing bug climbs out of the wall
out of the corners, out of the cracks in the plaster, the nail-hole
for the crucifix and the drilled holes
for the tv

out of everything you imagined it was in

and kisses you until you know

exactly where it is





Frazz

The poorest, barely organized creatures
are not poor in the world.

Weather in the veins is never different.

What we call for convenience
you
is the world they have made.

The conscious skin is flexed through.
Dream frazz.

You
are not poor in the world either.

There is no such world
to be bereft of.




Just What it Sounds Like

A tiny crustacean has eaten your tongue
and installed itself where your tongue used to be.

It’s visible to the naked eye should the eye ever get naked.
It functions like a tongue but absorbs a percentage

of whatever passes through.

If you open your mouth nothing is what it
sounds like.




Face

Leishmania brasiliensis jams the system.
It knows the truth and it lies.

When the sandfly bites it twitches past the skin
and enters the serum of what comes to destroy it

because it cannot be recognized.

In extreme cases, it migrates to the head
and eats away the soft tissue until the victim is faceless.

It needs an orphan drug.
It needs a moral system, but it does not want a face.

Moral philosophers have a face.  They want
recognition.  Leishmania eats it.

Nonetheless, you are a temporary environment.
and it will leave you the way it came, unable to be
a single thing.

It needs you but it prefers a dog.




Host Space

Do you want to know how close you need to be?

Close enough so the radiant heat
and the carbon dioxide at concentrations as low as 0.16%
can activate the questing response of the larvae.

See them undulate.
It’s what they do whenever you enter the host space.

This is where there is no room between the words
where there is no opportunity to wonder whether

you consented, or whether you are emptied, as all
the volumes of the heavens.

Where the cost of manipulating host behavior
can be shared among the guests.

There is no other space like it.
Remember the earth - it looks exactly
how it looks.


Monty Reid is an Ottawa writer. His many books include The Luskville Reductions (Brick), Disappointment Island (Chaudiere), and Flat Side (rdc). Recent chapbooks include Contributors' Notes (Gaspereau Press), Site Conditions (Apt 9 Press) and units from his Garden sequence from small publishers in Canada, France, England, Argentina, and the US. BuschekBooks will publish his A Gran Zoo, an approximation of Cuban poet Nicolas Guillen's El Gran Zoo, late in 2012. He works as Managing Editor of Arc, and is one of the coordinators of VerseFest, Ottawa's international poetry festival. He plays guitar and mandolin in the band Call Me Katie.