I asked my father once,

What is the most dangerous animal in the world?

And he replied

With the thoughtfulness of a scientist,

A tiger,

Or perhaps a wild boar —

And which would win in a fight?

I asked, so I would know

For certain

The more fearsome.

A boar, he decided,

For it could hide better.

And that was that — a boar,

The most dangerous animal in the world.

 

But think! An alligator can run,

Can climb, can snap its teeth, 

Can walk on land and swim in water.

Couldn’t an alligator kill

A boar? And a hippopotamus

An alligator, to be sure,

With one snap of its teeth.

And what about

Killer whales? Great whites?

The squids deep down under

The ocean, that feast on passing

Humpbacks? Are they not dangerous?

 

I ask my mother, the doctor:

Are we the most dangerous animal

In the world? We, who destroy 

Only by living?

She shakes her head,

Dismissive, endless in her practicality.

And tells me no. 

 

She says, Nothing spreads disease

Faster than a mosquito.

Across countries, continents, oceans.

And that is that. 

A mosquito

is the most dangerous animal

in the world.