Season of the Itchy Gritches

Blackberries, big as my thumb,
but for every one, expect two chiggers.
You won’t see the chiggers,
but you’ll see the little red mounds
where they’re sleeping
when you take off your socks.

They’ll wake you up in the middle of the night,
partying, I presume.

I wonder if they’re jealous
that mosquitos get all the press.
Probably not.
It’s safer to stay undercover.
There are no government spray programs
for chiggers, are there?

Are they related to the no-see-ums on the beach?
Do they know the biting flies
that share the season with them?

I should be grateful
that all the biting monsters
come in one season,
albeit a long one, spring through fall.

Through all the long months,
slather my legs with geranium oil,
careful not to miss the spots behind my knees
that itchy little seed ticks prefer.
Wear crew socks, toe-enclosed shoes,
and look forward to the first hard freeze,
just making sure, before the happy day arrives,
that all the green tomatoes are in.

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