Animals: “Phenomenal Little Monsters Haibun” by Sharon Suzuki-Martinez

Phenomenal Little Monsters Haibun

The Stick Insect, the original minimalist, prefers to keep its intricacies secret. Throughout their 47 million-year evolution, Stick Insects have lost and regrown their wings repeatedly—like bare branches occasionally sprouting leaves and taking flight. Deep in this bug’s genetic code, lurks the ability to bring forth winged progeny whenever the environment demands it. Even more impressive is the 600 million-year-old Tardigrade. These pudgy micro-animals, also known as Water Bears, can survive freezing and boiling temperatures, and outer space. During drought or worse conditions, they can curl up and sleep in suspended animation for decades like tiny interstellar astronauts. They resurrect in a few drops of water. Tardigrades survived five great mass extinctions, including the asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs. Imagine if we had such abilities. Imagine we do. Imagine the Coronavirus pandemic awakens powers only ever known by our earliest ancestors. Imagine your superpower has slept for generations in your family’s genes. The ability to survive famine. To shapeshift into ravens and wolves. To dream away the horrors of doomsday. Children teased for being weird might become our greatest hope. May forgotten myths come roaring back to life to save us. 

Chaos could trigger
one’s blood memories to burst
into phoenix wings.

About Sharon Suzuki-Martinez

Sharon Suzuki-Martinez’s first book, The Way of All Flux (New Rivers Press, 2012), won the New Rivers Press MVP Poetry Prize. She was a finalist for the 2018 Best of the Net, nominated for a Pushcart, and is a member of Kundiman. She is an Okinawan-Japanese American who grew up in Kaneohe, Hawaii and now lives in Tempe, Arizona on the original homeland of the Akimel O’odham.