When We Were Boys
it was nothing to stretch an earthworm
thin as the line that separates borders on a map,
cutting the body alive. Fashioning it across
pavement to spell our nicknames.
Laughing when Giovanni used a switchblade
on a real long one, cuz his mom said
he couldn't cut his calling short.
Mrs. Stein tells us that worms have no face.
They do not have pain or thoughts.
They are lifeless in their living;
bodies reassemble as if a nail cut too short.
Mrs. Stein says they are sensitive to light and have five hearts.
A dumb kid in the back asks if they can fall in love
and if the light helps them know they’re in heaven.
Antwan says,“It’s raining in April,
rain gives us a chance
to see things as they are."
I watch these tan fingers with no purpose
wiggle about, soaking and vulnerable.
The tender collection of tendon
becomes gilded muscle.
Armor for those that swallow
earth and become it.