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The retreat

One cloudy morning
we walk along
a jungle path.
Myriad shades
of verdure embracing
the smell of moist earth.

The chirping birds fly further away.
Shoes scuffle the ground beneath
crackling dry twigs
on the forest floor
and stirring up
leaf litter..

suddenly someone shouts
leeches! we all look down
in dismay and our steps
resemble a cat
on a hot tin roof

a platoon of leeches
closing in from our right
each glossy brown body
strains towards human heat
their hooked purposeful march
heads angled towards us

leech to the left
leech to the right
leech climbs on the shoes
you take off a shoe
blood on your socks
you take off your sock
leeches circled within

leech in your armpit
leech on your back
leech from the branch
brushing your throat
your feet take on a life all their own..

the jungle now devoid
of human disturbance
the jungle is safe
the jungle survives
the jungle has won
long live the leech!

© Alaka Yeravadekar


  1. It has a certain disturbing quality about it. Leeches are small and insignificant, and yet are able to keep the jungle safe from human encroachment. It's always the little things that have a huge impact -- for good or for bad.

  2. I've been bitten a couple of time.. but at leech you exposed the higher purpose of them hirudineans...!

  3. Yikes, you wrote this so well, I was lifting my own feet up off the floor. Very well written.

  4. Thanks Sherry. Guess nothing like first hand experience to write a poem!

  5. Glad you survived. smiles..

  6. Anonymous11:23 AM

    You put me there and I'm curling my toes now.

  7. Hello.
    I'm sitting here squirming & scratching thinking there are leeches on me!
    Vivid as can be.
    Thanks for sharing.

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