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Author: David Miller
Date: Wntr 2021
From: AMASS(Vol. 25, Issue 3)
Publisher: Society For Popular Democracy
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,874 words
Lexile Measure: 940L

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First rains woke Earth. First rains woke, too, the worm. Water filled his bed. His head was filled with dew. His segments stiff and sore, he shivered in a cold slurry of mud. But now he was hungry and now he must feed. He stretched to shake off sleep. He achingly twisted like a dying snake. Then he wedged his narrow prostomium between her crumbs and clods. Anchoring his front bristles, he contracted fat to bring up his rear. Next he anchored his hind bristles and, stretching thin, pushed forward in waves. So he went, contracting fat, stretching thin and thinner still he pushed through her gumbos of clay, her rotted leaves, and probed hungrily for food.

He felt feisty now, slithering in her silty loams and sands and wads of undigested peat--feeling her textures on his rawness, his veins pulsing purple and swollen in her damps. Probing and pushing through her pungent black manures where fungi feasted, molds and yeasts, and swallowing it all with relish. And winding between her roots and pebbles and clods, past shivering nymphs and curled-up larvae and the shed elytra of beetles, he ate his way through her, through soggy pots of mud, and broke up her brittle clays, and made a space around her roots for air but didn't care. Capriciously he wandered, looking for delicious food. Between her root hairs was leaf mold and bug spume to protrude into, and surprising hollows between her larger clods. A hidden watercourse washed and refreshed him. Best of all were pungent mats of sour decay. They corrupted him with a wild joy. In her, in possession, attacking her tilth, he, Worm, violated Earth. He, Worm, ravaged Earth. Worm would have his way with her and take what he wanted. He went where her textures and smells took him. And food! Yesss, feeding on food, great heaps of luscious her through his maw, a river of Earth flowing through him all the way down.

Yet, unwittingly, as he ate ... he tilled.

He tirelessly tilled, aerating her, making her friable and enriching her with castings far more nutritious than the most luscious topsoil. Earth went all soft and crumbly where he passed--perfect for holding air and water in marvelous mixture. Wondrously rubbed by Worm from within and happy for the penetration, she, Earth, put forth flowers, gladly and in abundance.

Earth knows not the ravaging intent of dark, tunneling Worm. Nor does she care. Does Worm use her? Good. Does Worm take advantage? Help yourself. Does Worm do what he wants for his own greedy pleasure? Yay! Does Worm protrude into her? Does Worm dig long, twisty tunnels inside her? Ohmygosh, don't stop!

What Earth knows is how to give. Simply give. Nothing behind the giving. Only give and give more with abandon. And...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A660799830