Leech Birth

On our grandparents’ farm us kid cousins played in the shallow river that cut through their pasture. It sat deep in bled out banks. Steep walls of earthen matter. Between these pillars a trough of stagnant water. Upriver the Hutterite colony dumped tons of pig shit but still we swam and played. Caked skin in bottom mud then waved to passing strangers.

As we swam a fat leech latched to my cousin’s leg. It gave birth right there in the river. A swarm of suckling creatures stuck to pale skin. Black on white. Parasitic infants. Each speedy and small. Each desperate for blood.

He swatted and pulled but they spread all over. Slinked up his trunks then down his leg. It was an explosion of life and yet no miracle. Just a swarm that made him scream. Made him cry. The salt of tears not strong enough to slaughter a single one.

Once things settled the birth betrayed no beauty. Just the truth of life laid bare. An endless maze made of confusion. A swirling mass of death. One with an untold hunger. All of earth a leech birth.