The Fourth Labor


With gills like feathers, we’re
found in the brooks and streams
where fresh water runs, feeding
on the living and dead – animals
and plants of 115 million years.

Starving, consuming our own
exoskeletons, we’re your food,
your bait, your pets. The bass
and bluegill… your fish are our
enemies; your mold is our plague.

We’ve read every letter of
your alphabet, traversing Alpha
to Omega. Beta is where our bee-
hive shone brightest: the cancer
already growing in your breast.

Eyeless, we see well enough
in the dark to infect your hero’s
foot, to be immortalized for our
work with the serpent by your
God’s own goddess in the south.

Sentimental about the past,
we’re emotional, responding
to love; your sensations reach
our minds with such clarity, we
don’t doubt them for an instant.

Ruled by the moon, our intuitive
powers are excellent: the source
of the waters in which we live.
Look for us at 90º tonight; our
death silently creeping into you.


For more of Israfel Sivad’s poems, please go to: