Tardigrade Kleiner Wasserbär by R.W. Jagodnik

To see them at all
you must soak

moss in spring
water and, under

a microscope,
magnify by 100.
These water bears,
these moss piglets,

these extremophiles
to the uber max,

can sleep like dragons
for a solid decade,

can hike for eons on
top of the Himalayas

without masks on,
can snorkel in

the Mariana Fault,

can survive UVs
that would melt

bears’ skins like
bees’ wax,
can thrive as if

pigs in shit
under sheets of
arctic ice,
can be boiled alive

and live and
can brave the

vacuum of space.
Though I share

no common
ancestors

whatsoever –

they are

their own
phylum –
I’d really like
to claim them

as my cousins –
my microscopic

apes of pomp,

sly within their
cunning, cunning
within their craving,

craving what’s within
me, gobbling up

whatever extremes,
my manias,
my below lows,
I carry buried

shamefully
in my brain,

carrying them in a
crampt titanium

box, simmering
like gravel after

smelting. to a moon
in a galaxy too

far away to see

 

 

Ron Jagodnik graduated from Portland State University, writing poems with Michelle Glazer and Primus St. John. Currently, he works as a care-giver for developmentally-disabled adults, attends writing classes at Marylhurst University taught by Emily Frey and Jay Ponteri, and participates in the Milwaukie Poetry Series council.

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