MURMUR OF A MOURNFUL FLEA
Dear God, forgive the human race
For treating fleas like a disgrace,
Forgetting all the verve and flair
That make us fleas superb and rare.
We’re pulex irritans, they bitch,
Which means “a louse that makes you itch.”
Such talk is insulting as can be.
No! Wondrous miracles are we!
Yes, we are small, with tiny feet,
And little mouths you’d call petite,
And often bite off (sad but true)
A bit more than a flea can chew,
Too small to breathe much
But not too small to say
(Our voice is somewhat hard to hear,
So we just whisper in God’s ear.)
God, you don’t find us bothersome,
Annoying, irritating, dumb,
Those ugly, irksome, pesky pests
That pulex irritans suggests.
We’re godlike insects born
With sturdy hind legs, tough
With feathered forewings, made for prayer
Or streaking through the midnight air.
So bless us, Holy Mystery,
With more respect and courtesy
From mean, nitpicking humankind.
How boringly are they designed!
All one! While God has made
A thousand-plus varieties.
So we give praise, Love Unsurpassed,
Great Hairy God, our Home at last.
from the forthcoming book Prayers of 100 Animals A to Z, by William Cleary