My brother and I dug for worms,
our knees furrowing
the farmer’s dirt, our nails
blackened by its bounty.
And where we found them, we cradled them
as pets, admired their mucoid segments,
let them curl between our fingers.
We envied how they navigated
the dense earth. The way the clay
embraced their lucent bodies—
smooth cylinders that tilled
the soil, shaped and unshaped
the netherworld beneath our feet.
And before the sun shriveled their pink skin
we returned them to their burrows—
enough for a moment
to touch their dark mystery.
Ingrid L. Taylor is a poet, essayist, and veterinarian whose work has most recently appeared in the Southwest Review, Ocotillo Review, Collateral Journal, and others. She has received Punt Volat Journal’s Annual Poetry Award and was a featured poet in the Horror Writers Association’s Annual Poetry Showcase, vol. 8. Her nonfiction has appeared in HuffPost, Sentient Media, and Feminist Food Journal. She has been awarded support for her writing from the Pentaculum Artist Residency, Playa Artist Residency, the Horror Writers Association, and Gemini Ink. Find out more about her work at ingridltaylorwrites.com and on Instagram @tildybear.