Inchworm – Rebecca Irene

In the same straight line, a crow
flaps eastward, a gull glides west.

Far horizon like a rusted razor.
The waves, beside me, knit steel

& velvet. Downy woodpeckers drill
for grubs. An inchworm plummets

from above. So close, slow breath
swings its fragile body to & fro, to

& fro. The silken thread anchored
on the scrub pine over our heads.

In the same low bough that caught
my hair, strands of lost ash-grey

wave alongside the inchworm’s life-
line. Both twist & curl, twist & curl.

The inchworm seems terrified,
but maybe it’s ecstatic. What

do I know? Perched on a piece
of granite, waiting for the first

snow. Only that the inchworm ascended
& fell, ascended & fell, all morning long

beneath our crooked leaning tree.
Only that when the inchworm finally

grasped the branch, one could almost
pretend—nothing else mattered.

Rebecca Irene

Rebecca Irene’s poems are published or forthcoming in RHINO, Juked, and elsewhere. She was the 2020 Monson Arts: MWPA Poetry Fellow. Poetry Editor for The Maine Review, Rebecca holds an MFA from VCFA, and lives in Portland, Maine. Twitter: @cicadacomplex.

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