Andrew Hemmert

How Inextricably Amoebas Love The Body

I was remembering a ferris wheel by a city river at night, turning
a neon roulette against that black and starless water. I was remembering
a bad harvest, and then an infestation in what little crop remained,
all the corn darkening with hunger and rot. There are some bugs
we consider allies—ladybugs, for example, eat aphids, and spiders
decorate their sails with the husked bodies of mosquitoes. Spider season
ends abruptly in Colorado, or what I’ve taken to calling spider season,
when for a few hot months wolves invade the basement and leave
their exoskeletons dotting the tan carpet, like abandoned military vehicles
in a desert. Halfway through August the wolves retreat and all
that’s left are house spiders and the occasional ear wig. Was it a myth,
that they’d crawl into your sleep and take up anchorage? I swam in warm water
in Florida, though I knew the risks, how inextricably amoebas
love the body, how inevitable their voyage to the center of the skull.
In Jules Verne’s story the center of the earth is hollow, full of dinosaurs,
which as a paleontology-obsessed child I loved to imagine. In truth the center
is heat and crushing pressure, nothing could survive or escape it.
Not even the light of the stars that collapsed to create us. I think of them
like silos going bad, and us as insects drunk on their misfortune.

Andrew Hemmert is the author of Blessing the Exoskeleton (forthcoming, Pitt Poetry Series) and Sawgrass Sky (Texas Review Press). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various magazines including The Cincinnati Review, The Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review. He won the 2018 River Styx International Poetry Contest. He earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and currently serves as a poetry editor for Driftwood Press.