Poetry Sunday: The Mosquito by Rodney Jones

Here's more proof that a talented poet can make poetry out of anything. Even a mosquito.

In the late afternoon in my backyard, the mosquitoes are fierce. I see nothing poetic about them. But Rodney Jones did - "the mosquito kneeling on the soft underside of my arm, kneeling like a fruitpicker, kneeling like an old woman with the proboscis of her prayer buried in the idea of God..."

The "proboscis of her prayer"! Good stuff.
The Mosquito

by Rodney Jones
I see the mosquito kneeling on the soft underside of my arm, kneeling
Like a fruitpicker, kneeling like an old woman
With the proboscis of her prayer buried in the idea of God,
And I know we shall not speak with the aliens
And that peace will not happen in my life, not unless
It is in the burnt oil spreading across the surfaces of ponds, in the dark
Egg rafts clotting and the wiggletails expiring like batteries.
Bring a little alcohol and a little balm
For these poppies planted by the Queen of Neptune.
In her photographs she is bearded and spurred, embellished five hundred times,
Her modular legs crouching, her insufferable head unlocking
To lower the razor-edge of its tubes, and she is there in the afternoon
When the wind gives up the spirit of cleanliness
And there rises from the sound the brackish oyster and squid smell of creation.
I lie down in the sleeping bag sodden with rain.
Nights with her, I am loved for myself, for the succulent
Flange of my upper lip, the twin bellies of my eyelids.
She adores the easy, the soft. She picks the tenderest blossoms of insomnia.
Mornings while the jackhammer rips the pavement outside my window,
While the sanitation workers bang the cans against the big truck and shout to each other over the motor,
I watch her strut like an udder with my blood,
Imagining the luminous pick descending into Trotsky’s skull and the eleven days
I waited for the cold chill, nightmare, and nightsweat of malaria;
Imagining the mating call in the vibrations of her wings,
And imagining, in the simple knot of her ganglia,
How she thrills to my life, how she sings for the harvest.


  1. Poetry in everything...You're right about that! ;-)

    1. I particularly like the allusion to the mosquito as an alien, as a poppy planted by the Queen of Neptune. Poets are amazing people!

  2. I spent many years of my life under the plaque of mosquitoes. We don't have them in California. Thank the lord. I don't know what Rodney Jones was smoking but it seems he made his peace with them.

    1. Well, lucky you to have a life without mosquitoes. They are quite ferocious around here. Jones was certainly looking at the critter through very different eyes, but maybe he's right; maybe they are aliens sent to eat us up. After all, they have been called the most deadly animal on Earth.


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