My “itch” poem

BULLETIN: Taylor McGowan just posted a poem for this month. Ths is the first young poet we’ve heard from in several weeks so I’m delghted to see this clever post by Taylor. Check it out!


by David L. Harrison

I know you’re sitting there reading this poem,
silly as it is, which I wrote for you
while also sitting, being an age
when sitting comes naturally.

You began with the title, wondering
if itching can start by suggestion
or watching someone scratch,
the way one yawner in a waiting room
soon fills the place with grimacing mouths
and eyes scrunched shut
above nostrils flaring like horses –

I was thinking that pruritus,
a fancy word a doctor might use,
can start about anywhere on
your twenty or so square feet of skin
where, say, an ant battles your arm hair
or a shirt label at your neck
makes you think spider.

In case you wonder how you know
you itch, blame it on your dermis,
where nerves receive urgent notes
from the outside fussing about everything
from pollen to mosquitoes,
whereupon they hit panic mode,
so to speak, and fire off warnings
that zip up your spine
to Action-Central (your cerebral cortex)

to complain about tickle-itchy feelings of
a ladybug on your elbow
or dander from your cat.

So, long story short, yes,
the title alone can make you itch.
Where depends on the spot
this very minute you are dying
to scratch.

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