It's Poetry Friday, and so I thought I'd post one of the microbe poems I wrote while working on The Good, the Bad, the Slimy: The Secret Life of Microbes. (We ended up using just a fragment of one of the poems in the book. When you read the poem perhaps you'll understand why.) Thanks to HipWriterMama for hosting this week's Poetry Roundup!
Listen up friends, and I’ll tell you the story
Of a strange bacterium, Helicobacter pylori. *
With a corkscrew-like body and four swell flagella,
It lives in the stomach—an uncommon fella!
For most living things, it’s out of the question
To dwell in a place designed for digestion.
Where blistering acids make life transitory
For microbes, save one, Helicobacter pylori.
These sturdy bacteria burrow under the slime
Lining the stomach, where they stay, a long time.
Patrolling immune cells don’t like these strange guys,
They attack them, intending to cause their demise.
The unhappy result is mild inflammation,
Sometimes even ulcers, to our consternation.
*Helicobacter pylori (HEEL-ih-ko-BAK-ter pye-LOR-ee) lives in the stomach lining of about half of all adults.