It’s warm here, with my brother and sisters.
We writhe inside the small enclosures of our eggs.
We are the half-formed: brown translucent pods jammed
side by side in the dark hollows of our host.
Soon, our brood mother says. Long, serpentine, beautiful. Soon.
And then—the drop.
We are the fallen, flung from the sky, clustered
in brown globules on the shadow of a leaf.
Come closer, slow-moving snail!
We entice you with our shiny ovals.
You are a languid giant sailing across the leaves.
And you take the bait.
You swallow us down your gaping slime maw, and we
travel down the dark length of you.
There we grow.
We grow in this new dark, forming long tubes, interconnected.
We dig our tendrils into your neural circuits and drive you.
We allow you to travel
To where you want to go—for now—
places cool and moist and dark
Running your creeping circuits around
dark undersides of mushrooms and rotten logs.
We are the broodsacs.
As we grow, we spread out into your eyestalks
preferring the left tentacle over the right,
As we grow, we grow fonder of you, our lumbering ride
and life source
As we bloom, we dance and pulsate in bright green and yellow spirals
You cling to the darkness, giant snail, always
but we draw you to the light and
the warmth of the sun, which catch our colors,
(we pulse in light only)
We draw the energy for our dance
The dance of death
Drawing the eye of a new feathered host
Down, sharp beak, spearing into the soft flesh of you
And we are drawn into a familiar darkness, down, down—
The cycle begins again.