Time is white
mosquitoes bite
I’ve spent my life on nothing

Lorine Niedecker, “What Horror to Awake at Night”

Another one spins burning out of control,
crashes into the raging sea of my
cluttered shop floor. The won battle
feels best when the war is in doubt.

Thwarted in our every attempt at control,
we try to cure our diurnal frenzy,
Saint Vitus’ swat dance. We resort to potions,

herbs, incantations, finally to the fool’s
way to isolate our vampire maenads—
The citronella candle is said to frustrate
mosquitoes, and we have lit one in the house.

Inside, the air is calm, free from mosquitoes,
but citronella is poison. The windows are shut
because the wind outside works a frenzy.

Mosquito chorea is catching, though our local
population has been blasted to Seattle by now.
Choking on security, we find a better way to earn
our freedom. We open the door and step out.

Why should desperation be our only resort
when the door is so close, and the pure air,
where we can face our mere mosquitoes?

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.