Dear Mr Pinworm

Dear Mr Pinworm,
It’s the same tension you get when playing Jenga,
And there’s that piece at the bottom
that will ruin everything;
it is a foundation more delicate,
than we assume it to be.
It is the only game that teaches us
that some systems aren’t meant to be stable,
simply because they are not.
You happen to be the bottom piece.

To be honest, I had to google your picture
and still I wouldn’t be able to find you in a crowd.
I suppose that is my biggest ignorance,
seeing that you were once
the biggest challenger of our egos,
despite your size.

So I guess it’s true?
Something small can change the world.
Perhaps we owe you an apology,
for attributing size to importance.
We were taught that,
the higher up the food chain you are,
the bigger the office you get.

It makes sense
if your sisters fed on other apes,
you would feed on us,
if those apes were our sisters.
But it was 1982,
and when you little guys challenge the up-tops
it would have been easier to label you
fickle or promiscuous,
rather than to acknowledge,
our ‘primitive’ relatives.

Thank God we listened to Uncle Cameron,
insisting that we all grew up together,
and helped us find our ‘lost’ family.
It just really sucks that
whenever I’m around you,
I get itchy all over.

Note: This piece was based on my initial reaction to Brooks and Glen’s paper entitled ‘Pinworms and Primates: A Case Study in Coevolution’ (1982) and my further research on Cameron’s hypothesis, which suggests, in very simple terms, when two ( or more) organism share an intimate relationship ( mutualistic or competitive), those organisms will evolve together, with the host organism evolving at a faster rate. This poem does not adequately explain the changes in the history of the phylogenetic tree of primates or pinworms, or details Brooks and Glen’s findings, or Cameron’s hypothesis and anyone wishing to learn more should consult the paper cited directly, or an actual textbook. Email me at for any discussions or suggestions.

Creative Commons License
Dear Mr Pinworm by Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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