Tuesday 4 February 2014

Bedbug Love


The snores were a gust of noise in the dark night's mysteries

The moths flitted like little vampires on the midsummer breeze
The beetle larvae gnawed happily inside the wooden floor
When the mouse came squeezing, the mouse came squeezing
The little mouse came squeezing, under the bedroom door.

It had a long tail attached behind, big ears to hear the din

And fur like grey velvet, bulging eyes dark as sin.
Its whiskers were always a-twinkle; ears cocked for the slightest cry
And it crawled like darkness a-wrinkle
Darkness come alive a-wrinkle
Under the door, oh my.

Over the floorboards it came in the bed's dank sward

And nosed at the bedposts, but to gnaw they were too hard
It sniffled a little at dust bunnies, and what should it find waiting there
But Cimex the bedbug's daughter
Cimex the bedbug's long lost daughter
Joyous at the smell of the mouse upon the night's dark air.

And dark in a dark eyelash follicle a short antenna twitched

Where Demodex the eye-mite listened; its body was like a grain of wheat
It had no eyes or legs to speak of; its colour like an overcast day
But it loved the bedbug's daughter
It loved the bedbug's long lost daughter
Dumb as a mite it listened, and it heard the mouse say:

"Just one bite, darling, I haven't had much luck tonight

Thought I had a biscuit, but someone turned on the light
Again I thought I heard a cat, pad-pad-padding away
And I took refuge in flight
I took refuge in headlong flight
I saved my life by headlong flight
And staved off hunger by nibbling a lump of clay."

The bedbug rose high on her spiny legs - she scarce could reach his neck

All she could do in the darkness was stab at his skin and peck.
Then her mouth parts, questing, found a little vein
And she punctured his skin in the darkness
(Oh sweet rich blood meal in the darkness)
Then he crawled out under the door, and ran off to his nest.


The mouse didn't come the next night

Or the next night, or the next -
And poor Cimex sat wringing her spiny forelimbs, all worried and so vexed
Then, while the beetles gnawed at the door in midnight
A bedbug troop came crawling in midnight
Cimex' parents came crawling at midnight, down the bedpost to the floor.

They said not a word to the dust mites - to the beetles they said no word

But down in the darkness, where the shapes are all blurred -
The took Cimex, held her, her legs by her side
They waited at every crevice
And stuffed Cimex into one deep crevice
Waited for him to come, so they'd bite holes in his hide.

They had wedged her tight in the crevice, her spiny legs hard pressed

They had yelled and threatened, but still she had not confessed -
"You ruined the family's honour" - and they left her. She heard the mouse say
"I took refuge in flight
I took refuge in headlong flight
I ran for my life in headlong flight, and lived to flee another day."

She wriggled and twisted in the crevice, but it had caught her good

Then she had an idea, and vomited out some blood
And she felt herself get thinner - yes there was some relief there!
And on the stroke of midnight
She puked again in midnight
And beside her spiracles she felt a slice of air.

A slice of air was great indeed: she puked out again

And the drops of his digested blood fell on the floor like rain
Now she could move in the crevice! Yes she felt wriggle-room in the crevice
She could move again in the crevice
And the muscles in her spiny legs flexed to signals from her brain.

Scutter creep in the distance! A scratch upon the door!

Was that a mouse-shaped shadow dark upon the floor?
Her compound eyes tried to focus; her antennae sniffed away
At what the scent molecules in the air might say.
Here he came, a-crawling
Under the door he came crawling
Her parents kept to their bickering! ...she puked the last of the gore.

Scutter creep, in the darkness! Mouse-claws upon the floor

There was enough to rouse an army! Did her parents expect even more?
She crawled out of the crevice - she ran out from under the bed
As he entered the room in dark night
She ran to him in dark night
And as he squeezed under the door, she jumped right on to his head.

He turned, and ran with terror - he did not know what clung

To his head with spiny claws, and to one ear hung
Not till his nest he saw it - and fainted with relief to see
It was the bedbug's daughter
The bedbug's new-found daughter
Who had eloped with him and set herself free.

Afterwards was there such celebration! She sucked on him, what fun!

Till she was full to bursting, tight as a drummer-boy's drum
Blood-soaked was his fur in the dark nest; anaemic was his weary eye
When Demodex the eyelash mite
The eyeless, wheat-shaped eyelash mite
That crawling little eyelash mite, a-wandering came by.

And still, they say, at night, when the snores ring out at ease

And the hours crawl by as though crippled by disease
When beetles and dust mites eat skin fragments and floor
The mouse comes crawling, crawling, crawling
That little mouse comes squeezing, under the bedroom door.

But no bedbug to suck him - now he's all alone

And his fur and flesh lie healthy upon the bone
Meanwhile the eyelash mite is happy - high up in its lair
It lives with the bedbug's daughter
The bedbug's blood-sucking daughter
Who finds no blood in the eye-mite, and lives on dew and air.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2014

(This is a parody of The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, which we had to do in school and on which I have always harboured a deep-seated desire for revenge.)

Note to reader: There was an image of a bedbug here, but one Alex - who claims to have taken the image in question -  filed a DCMA copyright notice against this blog instead of, you know, just asking me to remove it. Big man, huh? I filed a counter complaint, and during the two wek waiting time for processing that counter-complaint, said Alex did nothing to contact me. Only when the two-week period was over and Google reinstated the blog did the big man think to contact me about it.

Hope you're happy, Alex. 


  1. You forgot the part where the male bedbug impregnates the female by stabbing her in the abdomen with his stabber tool.

    1. Oh, no I didn't. I just didn't include any male bedbugs here. Poor Cimex has been maltreated enough already :D


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