1 Perfected predator, ranging under 2 sediment stagnating in a roadside 3 drainage ditch or rooting in the mire 4 of embedded shingles of a river 5 that idles downwards to a redding tide, 6 breathes oxygen exhaled by algal blooms 7 during photosynthesis as they bask 8 in nitrogen and phosphorus sewage 9 that flows, unstaunched, into neritic-zone 10 life-teeming estuarine turbulence 11 along the Susquehanna bed, collapsed 12 when a cataract of northern waters 13 broke through the glaciers and made the bay 14 of Chesapeake, whose inland shallows rest 15 atop the continental shelf, sea-gate 16 to the black and alien abyssal plain. 17 I'm dugesia tigrina, 18 mottled triclad, slippery fellow, 19 shaking my tri-angled head's two 20 pointy auricles side to side, 21 for sensing where is what to eat, 22 training twin ocelli above 23 to shun the light for safety's sake, 24 unblinking sensors (fixed on you) 25 of a miniscule cross-eyed schmoo 26 invertebrate that domiciles 27 the sterile petri dish filled with 28 a pure spring-water medium -- 29 take care of your planaria -- 30 tap water doesn't suit our taste, 31 its chlorine suffocates and kills -- 32 and flatworms are adorable 33 additions to the household gods 34 once your class has quite done with us. 35 Its ciliated epithelia, 36 seeping mucus to lubricate its glide, 37 catch prey as sticky-tape does tired flies 38 until a tubal throat from under-mouth 39 pokes out to suck on little vertebrates, 40 mosquito larvae, and baby flatworms, 41 undigested debris of which vacate 42 the handy selfsame hole as excrement. 43 I never have to die of age, 44 tissue loss, or organ failure, 45 as an experiment will show: 46 slip me onto a dish of ice 47 and once I'm lethargic and numbed, 48 slice me two times with a scalpel, 49 lengthwise first, from head to tailpiece, 50 and next across the ocelli, 51 and pour the quarter mini-me’s 52 back in the petri dish before 53 we freeze, recording how we squirm 54 and stretch – two weeks at most should do – 55 until we clone the one we were 56 four times, eight auricles and eyes, 57 four heads and nether openings 58 to eat-excrete, and gonopores 59 to traffic eggs and semen with. 60 But the scissored worm lies foundering, nerves 61 afire, prone in a dish for appetites 62 of an envious intelligencer 63 mortified by unfitness to outlast 64 a life that couldn't even fossilize 65 yet claims a phylum, Platyhelminthes, 66 pre-Cambrian, defying necrosis 67 with neoblasts so systematically 68 plenipotent they grow whatever cells 69 the fissionable worm and its sickled 70 brood might need, and in the sequence governed 71 by its embryogenetic flowchart: 72 they're beneath-the-killer's-knife immortal.