“Darwin’s Worms” from “Pitcher of Moon”

hardscrabble hearts

DARWIN’S WORMS

The soil has lost its excellence.

Worms hide in the

Deep sullen earth

I imagine curled up,

Embracing worm castings

And each other,

Desiccated former selves

Pale little ghosts

Awaiting the fertility of spring

The watering of a hard rain.

I squandered the bloom months,

Thinking paper and pen

Would bring its own blossoming

Scarcely seeing the vitality outside

Windows,

Allowing cabbage moths and beetles

To dominate

My nod to farming,

To self-sufficiency,

My tithe to the earth.

Ah, the soil is hardened

By the sins of the season.

Sharp winds make

Furrows

The cold buries down,

Deep, deep down

Torments, teases any life

That would show a feckless head.

Especially those hopeful worms

Now bundled in worm-sleep.

The words, verse,

I chose to cultivate

Over cabbage, collards

Failed to bloom.

Better I had plied the hoe

And bucket to that

Than a fevered pen

To paper.

It is now winter.

The fallow earth

Plays a waiting game

Knows I have failed

In pulp and soil

And mocks with a barrenness

I feel inside and out.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

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