Regan Good

The Worm
September 23, 2020 Good Regan

The sun: a worm with a spring withy in its jaws.
Mouthcrease like the gash in the spider’s globe.
It burns above us; it burns a wormhole in the night.
The white, furred heads of our spiders eat spindles
with their eight arms, move sideways like stars,
like porcelain crabs across hot sands; they feast on cotton
candy bundles of gillyflowers bathed in frost, pearly
with mothwing dust—O this sight, sickening at first,
until I saw the budding worm.
Was it a lily or a withy flapping there in the ground?
(Does the worm fly or does it climb a winding stair?)
With a sprig in its jaws, it moved like a snake in the sky,
not like a crab on sand or a worm in earth.
In that copse, where the trees are soft, the forest floor
is proudflesh and the earth crowns-up.
Here the hungry worm rips at its earthly counterpart.
I’d been taught to praise the snake and fear the worm.
To revere the spider’s patience and its paralyzing bite.
But this was holy, an otherworldly thing, straining
through the earth, moving with a branch in its jaws,
up through the loams,
tunneling up through gravelly deposits and pepperdirts.
The flag is from the roots of Paradise, from one hairy tap,
fed by the aqueducts of the underworld, underground
estuaries, the opposite of piled-high hierarchical clouds,
those frosted fortresses wringing rains into funnel tubes.
Above our heads a metal-bottomed galleon ship glides
while at our feet the lowly worm turns, the sticky worm
never to be caught in a spider’s web, or eaten by the pulpous snake.
This worm carries an osier with tiny buds up from the mud,
a flag, offering true leaves for the coming thunderhead.

Regan Good is the author of The Atlantic House and The Needle, both published by Harry Tankoos Books.  She was a Maytag Fellow at the University of Iowa.  She teaches writing at the Pratt School of Architecture and lives in Brooklyn.