Mosquitoes Don’t Know

Sandra Miller

Every evening at dusk
As the sun finally shutters its eye,
The mosquitos rise and sing
Their tiny tuneless song
Because mosquitos cannot know
They have only a few weeks to live and find us
They cannot grasp how we recoil
From their delicate voice and touch
Our skin surprisingly vulnerable
Our blood remarkably easy to invade

Maybe they enjoy the breeze and purple sky
As much as the rest of us
Unable to fathom just how slyly
They disperse the miniscule vectors of disease
Inside us

So do we carry on,
Floating through our short ballad, at times
Unaware what a careless impact we might make
We never meant to harm either
We never meant–


About the poet:

Sandra Miller is an academic family physician in Phoenix who encourages physicians, students and all medical people to write about their journeys. Her essays have appeared in JAMA and Under the Sun, and she recently published her first novel, Only Rock Is Real, a medical adventure that features a woman physician practicing at the Grand Canyon Clinic.

About the poem:

“This poem is one piece of a four-part study exploring complex microcosms just outside our back door–an exercise in mindfulness about how we are small, often unwitting players in a grander though sometimes precarious system.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

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7 thoughts on “Mosquitoes Don’t Know”

  1. This is a great poem. I loved it enough to comment. Commenting is rare for me. It prompted me to buy your book. Looking forward to reading it.

  2. Sandra, I loved this poem. So simply stated, yet drawing a fascinating parallel between the mosquito’s bite and our own often witless actions. Right down to the slap!

  3. It/s good to see Dr. Miller continuing to express with her mosquito metaphor what we all feel at times as clinicians.
    Her career as a family medicine residency faculty in Phoenix
    is exemplary.

  4. Dear Sandra,

    Thank you so much for your lovely poem. It’s clarity enabled me, who sometimes struggles to find the meaning behind the words that the poet is using, to easily hear and feel your observations, thoughts, and feelings.

    How can we find you essays in the JAMA and Under the Sun?

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