The New Young American Poets: An Anthology

By Kevin Prufer | Go to book overview

Campbell McGrath

The First Trimester

This morning we find dead earthworms in the dining room again.

Yesterday there were three; the day before one,

solitary traveller, lone pilgrim or pioneer shriveled up hard and black as the twist-tie I first mistook it for, shrunken and bloodless, brittle as wire.

Today it's two, a couple, bodies entwined in a death-embrace

become a cryptic glyph or sign, some Masonic rune or Buddhist talisman glimpsed in a Chinatown junk shop—

the ideogram of this mysterious manifestation.

So shall they come amongst us, singly and by pairs.

But where have they come from? The ficus? The yucca? A paltry crumbled trail of soil implicates the rubber tree, solemn in its dusty corner, in its green wicker basket among bookshelves. Is it possible? After all these years, how could it contain so much primordial, undomesticated life, so many wandering waves of worms? And what would induce them to leave it now, that safe haven of roots and humus, to migrate out into the great wide world, to wither and die in the vast dilapidated Sahara of our dining room floor?

Inseparable love? Biological compulsion? The change

of seasons? Autumn. Former students call

to speak of their suicides; the last yellow jackets

dive like enraged kamikazes to die enmeshed in our window screens, rusted
auto-bodies awaiting the wrecker;

higher up, two geese,

-105-

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