I am a mosquito magnet.
From my first week in Cambodia until the end, they were all over me. I used to joke that people around me didn’t need to worry about putting on mosquito repellant because the mosquitoes would feast on me first.
My bites would swell up so much that in my first month I was on anti-histamines to try to convince my body not to get so excited about them. People kept telling me that it would get better after 6 weeks. The mosquitoes would stop making a bee line for me. Nope. It took many years of constantly being bitten before my body decided that a small bump was a sufficient reaction. Then when I got dengue, I decided that I’d had enough of living with mosquitoes. But that is a story for another time.
Other mosquito poems have been published on this blog, testifying to my special relationship with them. Haha.
However, the time date on the holiday photos tell me that it was 18 months into my time in Cambodia, on holiday in Kep, that I started writing this – my original mosquito poem – and Mosquito, a haiku. I tested it out on the group at breakfast. They laughed a lot. We laughed a lot and then I slapped my arm because I’d just been bitten! I’ve tried finishing this poem a few times since but it just didn’t seem to work. This week, wanting to spend an evening, not marking student work, I finally got it out, pulled together the various versions, got some feedback on it from some of the members of the original audience. Et voilà.
Regarding the note you left last night,
Notes, in fact.
Which I found
indelibly written in red.
Presumably to underline your point,
as a mark of your love.
Inflamed with lust,
Laced with a wee dram of poison,
As if to say, if I can’t have you
then no-one will.
It’s just that,
And, I don’t want to hurt your feelings,
I mean no disrespect.
But wouldn’t you agree that we appear to be quite unsuited to each other?
I don’t react well to you.
My defences go into overdrive.
Besides you’re not the first suitor
of your ilk, who has been pursuing me.
Let me explain.
Was it your great, great, great aunt
who chanced upon me? Hmmmmmm…
Untouched, uninitiated in this
A slap here, a sting there.
Did word somehow get out that I was
Prime and ready,
Sweet and easy pickings?
One after another,
persisting with their whining salutations
and affectionate greetings.
Arousing me after each visit.
You’d each leave.
Drunk on my blood.
I thought, this is my destiny.
We played tennis together.
It was electric.
You won, love/40.
I’ve clapped my hands for you.
Waited up in the wee hours of the morning to find you.
I’ve rubbed on lotions,
anointed myself with oil to
What is it that you find so irresistible about me?
My bare skin?
My blood type?
My sweet scent?
Well, you leave me no choice
But to say that I have grown tired of your voice.
Wised up to your morning kisses.
The suffocating silences.
The nightly visitations.
Your methods of seduction
don’t beguile me any more.