We are not at the top of the food chain, as we like to think. While some organisms happily coexist with us, others invade our defences and persuade our cells to feed them and help them reproduce, making us ill in the process. A few can kill us. This poem is about the ones that, these days, are more of a nuisance than a threat.

You are prey every day, in an underhand way,
To attack by invisible foes
Which go into hiding, forever dividing
So their offspring can add to your woes.

You can’t spot ’em or swot ’em, but you know that you’ve got ’em
When they’re inside your guts or your airway:
They will make you feel queer, or give you the runs –
Then you’ll know it’s not just a bad hair day.

You may nurse ’em, or curse ’em and try to disperse ’em
By taking an antibiotic.
Though some are resistant and mighty persistent,
Surrender would be idiotic;

So don’t mope like a dope, hang on to the hope
That your white cells are fighting to floor ’em.
Just remember: you oughta drink plenty of water,
Wrap up warm, stay indoors, and ignore ’em.

[Image: sciencefocus.com]
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