As Green as the Earth

This is about the third poem I ever wrote, fall 1995 in Arizona. Last week I was thinking about the worms.

As green as the earth
the 18-gallon plastic container
you bought at WalMart
for 6 bucks and change plus 50 cents
for fine black fiberglass screening
to cover the 10 round 1-inch drain holes
evenly spaced
2 on each short side
and 3 on the long ones
that you and I drilled
as if we could impose order
on a pack of wild worms
close to the fridge
out of the traffic flow
the most beautiful object in the kitchen
except for the no-stick frying pan
that gleams like jet
for rectangles never top circles
and green plastic can’t outshine Teflon
and anyway the best part is inside
where 500 red worms
are eating what we do not want
like broccoli stems and last week’s beans
and apple cores turning to compost
inside that green plastic container
that is a lot like the earth
but it’s a box and isn’t the earth
blue and round
but it’s the air that looks blue from space
and I guess it does from here too
but you can’t see much alive
from up there except
the Great Wall of China which isn’t even
and the twinkles of cities
that could almost be stars except
then you’d be looking the wrong way
and you could never be sure
but I can open the bin
and pull out some dirt
and see our 500 worms
and they don’t even bite
and they eat all the leftovers
without ever sneaking
just one more piece of chocolate
just to even it up
cuz you never notice 1 one bite
but many ones you do
and after all you’re 4 months
pregnant and the bank manager
tells me the employee on the phone
was 4 months too and now I feel real bad
that I mentioned Nuremburg reflexively
when she explained that she was
just following orders
but that was Friday
and now it’s Saturday night
and we built today
the new worm composter
the second most beautiful thing in the kitchen
except when you are there
because you hold in your belly
the promise that grows with every meal
while the worms eat what we do not
and your belly is rounder and more perfect
than a no-stick Teflon frying pan
and your eyes are greener than the earth
and my love for you is older than worms
as old as dirt and like compost
because it remakes the world every day
more fertile
with the possibility of new life
and another spring.

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About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
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