Digging in the loam
For nightcrawlers, fat and rosy,
Until the pail is full.
We haul them home
Caked with the dirt they aerate.
One child shows another how severed
They become two creatures.
Brilliant! he exclaims.
I explain this is not actually true
Which they choose to ignore.

Threading the worm onto the hook
Securely, one child flinches,
The other grins. Attach the bobber
And in it goes. Don’t rock the boat.

It seems wrong to die like this
In a fish’s mouth or drowned.
Its element: earth not water.
The earthworm shrivels, impaled,
A dwindled ribbon of its
Former juiciness.
The children focus on those red balls
Dancing on the glinting surface,
Waiting for a bite.





colbyphotoJoan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, and others. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published sixteen books, including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press, which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize; and Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press, which was awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. She is an associate editor of Good Works Review .