Fugu

The human species holds 75% of its genes
in common with the puffer fish.

Sometimes, there’s an inkling:
a tickling behind the jaw,
a tingling in awkward limbs,
an involuntary blotchiness
of skin in the patchy light
that scatters down through treetops
as through ocean;
a certain notion of simple
round-faced shock,
spikes on end
to ward off those who prey;
sometimes,
a touch of poison
to make them pay.

This poem first appeared in Buckle &, number 14, Spring/Summer 2005.
If you’d like to read more about puffer fish, click in the photo to go to National Geographic.

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