by Karen May
feeling our way
by whiskers’ width
we sense the door closing
*vibrissae noun, plural /vaˈbrɪsi/ 1. stiff, bristly hairs growing about the face and limbs of most mammals [including marine mammals]. 2. long, slender, bristle-like feathers growing along the side of the mouth in many birds (Macquarie Dictionary online). Vibrissae are also represented in the insect world. The tactile sensory function of vibrissae is the subject of interdisciplinary research, including in neuroscience and robotics.
Karen May writes poetry, sometimes combined with art practice. She is a climate and ecological activist and a volunteer at the Australian National Insect Collection, Canberra. Her poetry has appeared in Bluepepper.