Ars Poetica :: Worm Music
by David Ehmcke
BWR 49.2 Poetry Contest Runner-Up
It was a worm in the mind. It felt
like a worm in the mind. It was a germ
of music in the mind
made muddy with puddles of grief.
It germinated, made a music
out of muddy me, splashing
in puddles of grief that memory made
once it had had its daily way with me—
I worried. There was no way
to say what grief could do
to me once Daniel left and Liza died
and all I did was stew
my worry, fury-like, as my mind
was curried by the sublime ladle
that I now call Time. But when I went
to lick that fickle ladle, I felt
my violent brainworm writhe—
I went lithe from the dread of it,
this disease of song sung
through me—a refrain that never dies—
that to this day I can’t describe. Call it
worm music. Call it beauty.
Call it a phantasmagoric signatory
whose kiss has stamped
the suicide note—like a love letter—
of the corporate mind.
Because once I said yes
to a musical life,
I killed the grief inside me,
song sated the day that splayed before me
and the whole world thrived. Yes, my worm
my nerve, my whole life thrived.
I chimed, I want to live.
And so you’ll live—
my worm sang back. And every morning since
I’ve sung, I did, I did, I did.
David Ehmcke is an MFA candidate in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis. His work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Peripheries, Cosmonauts Avenue, Hobart, Deluge, The Columbia Review, and elsewhere.