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WORM by Robin Gow

i have as many hearts

as you want me to have.

cut off my hand & it becomes

it's own private love poem.

row houses that caught fire

on that night in march

when the soil was coughing up sunglasses.

i thought we would put forevers

in the oven like pretzels. i thought i would

turn into a pile of socks with you.

when i was a young girl

we used to play a playground game

called "worm graveyard"

going out the day after a rain

to harvest the dead worms

& burry them. hearts like kickballs

one drying after the other

in the bruise-laden sun.

everything is too brief but

especially worms. we made headstones

from leaves. said elegies.

one worm who loved video games

& another who wanted to be

a skydiver. our dreams are like this.

little hymns in the ice age.

i'm telling you though

i can find another & another heart

if you will just keep me

as i want to be remembered.

a shovel in a bucket of marshmallow.

the radio gargling with salt water.

to be a worm is to cut in half

& decide which side to say farewell to.

or to always live with two bowl

of chips on your lap. i sometimes want

to call you again. i want to tell you

about the worms in the parking lot

& the worm graveyards &

the worm life i am living.

there are days when i think with

all of my hearts & days where

i let a child come & cut off my head.

tell me, have you lived like this too?

how would you say farewell

to the worms? what would you use

as a headstone? i imagine

cutting off my fingers. planting each

in the damp earth. kneeling until

they come alive not as children

but released selves that no longer

need me to dream of cream.


Robin Gow is a trans poet and witch from rural Pennsylvania. It is the author of several poetry books, an essay collection, YA, and Middle-Grade novels in verse, including Dear Mothman and A Million Quiet Revolutions. Gow's poetry has recently been published in POETRY, Southampton Review, and New Delta Review. Fae lives in Allentown Pennsylvania with their queer family.



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