for Joe and Flo Czarniak
Grandma was tending tomatoes in the garden,
teaching them to grow into their metal haloes
while Grandpa taught me how to fish.
I hated the smell the worms made in their jar
of dirt, so bitter and earthy. Impaling one
Grandpa told me, Cast where the water is darker,
fish-full. I flung both worm and hook into
the dog’s mane and once we pulled it out
the worm was clean, pink almost, fingerlike.
We threw it to the lagoon, the buoy
bridged water and sky, and I waited,
nervous—thinking about the worm,
wondering whether hook, water, or fish
killed it—shocked that even its small death
was so messy and essential.
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