by Veneta Masson

Ms. Masson is a poet and essayist.
She is a former nurse.
Her latest collection, “Heresies to Live By,” and other work can be seen

Back to Poetry

Think of it!

the salesman said

shaking his head

at our ancient mattress.

All those dead skin cells,

sweat, oil and worse

millions of dust mites.

This well-groomed man

must not know

he’s part of the biome

with mites in his lashes

that come out at night

and mate in his pores

but earn their keep

by cleaning his face.

He has trillions of creatures

alive in his gut

sharing the work of

digestion, protection

production of hormones

and vitamins.

I don’t know what to make

of all this—

his off-putting pitch

to rid myself

of my comfortable bed

or the reminder that

as Whitman said,

I contain multitudes.

That night, eyes closed

lashes astir

I drift into sleep with two questions:

Which of these creatures is me?

And do they approve

of how I’m living our life?

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