Today's poem is by Gerald Stern


Only, to hear him scream, you had to know
that he was in the body of the worm
and even the robin could hear the scream, so close
she was to the shaking ground, and though the struggle
was over in less than a minute, the sun turned red,
as you could see between the birches, but that
was just a decoration, a brief statement
as on a gravestone, Here lies such and such,
and at the bottom, below a lily, the worm
will lie down with the robin
, or it was
two carved roses intertwined, or maybe
the sun was more pink, more from shame, it only
lasted a few seconds considering the
size of things, and more and more the hopping
and screaming, whatever he was, however he was
dismembered, and as for justice, it was redder
still, you would say carmine, you would say ruby,
my clothes were red, my neck and face were scarlet.

Copyright © 2002 Gerald Stern All rights reserved
from American Sonnets
W. W. Norton & Company
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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