In March, my two older brothers harvested
the backs of young bulls and heifers.
They took turns placing the mouth
of a Coke bottle over small mounds
near the rise of the hip bone.
Repeated hits on the bottom of the glass
with the heel of the hand sucked
a grub into the throat of the bottle.
of what would otherwise be hidden.
Segmented whiteness, pale brown tip,
dropped on the concrete
and crushed under a boot.
I had to look
even though I hated the internal migration
it had made: eggs laid on calves’ upper legs
or under bellies, hatching, burrowing
through connective tissue to the spinal canal,
forming warbles just under the skin,
dropping off in spring to pupate.
Flies that drive the cattle wild
and live just long enough to lay eggs.
Like a kind of parenting that creates
migrants in the flesh
and breathing holes in the skin,
that makes us wretched and telepathic.
How can we habituate ourselves to grotesquerie
planted in us, that grows into our own ugly exposures,
and continue grazing in the world
as if there is more to life—
and there is—than this.
Alyda Faber has published poetry in Canadian and Dutch literary magazines: The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Ensafh. (Etc.), The Malahat Review, The Nashwaak Review, The Puritan Review, and in an anthology edited by Elizabeth Harvor.