The Worm

Jane Huffman

I have a worm
beneath my hair —
a future worm,

a nerve
from the eternal

Crawled out
of a wedding urn.

My worm has
no utility —

a boiled-looking,
ruddy thing.

A puritan,
he made a home
of incongruency.

Or Dickinson’s:
“He fathomed me — ”

If I can fathom her.
Not as wet nurse,

midwife, or mother.

Not self,
or buzzed self.

Not self
strung out
on beauty.

(A decent

A ripe analogy
for early youth.)

But worm, afraid
and unafraid.

As lassoed
by my string.


I return to returning
to that which drunks
me on fear.

Like the blue
within my evocation
of the water. The fear
that fills the pear-shaped
thought with pears.

They say the horse
that spooks all morning
won’t spook again
the same afternoon.

Even if you toward
her past the fence post
where her sight
unbuckled at her sound.

Where a hen cropped
from the overgrowth,
leg over leg
and grounded me, wet
with pond water
though there was no pond.

The horse carries
the fat of its fear
in its shadow. The hen
carries the fat of its fear
in its evocation.

My fear is like a hen.
It wanders.