Jeff Encke


Swallow us and we grow in the throat
our porcupine skin bristling,

everything we touch renamed
this, and not this. Even now

we linger in crypts of the fifth Egyptian dynasty
awash in a sea of sand, hystrix trickling

through the vein of the newt,
the arrow worm, the harlequin frog

its solar brow one long black toe.
Our toxin traces the circuit of a crab

in the shape of a horseshoe, stops the free-fall
of sodium between thickets of dendrites.

At night, the priests come to crush our livers
stirring them with human femur.

Blown in the face, this mix
neuters the will.

Our children will learn to gnaw
through the stomachs of dolphins

but emperors shall never
taste our flesh.

Polish our genome
and it mirrors your own.

This is that voodoo that we do.




One of a series of lyrics I have written from the point of view of pelagic creatures. These creatures frequently possess the personalities of economists. Not everyone knows that scientists recently succeeded in breeding detoxified fugu. My significant other Wendy nevertheless refuses to eat them, given the "cute, snuggly fashion" with which they stare at her. Consider yourself warned.