It didn't scare you enough, your father's warning
that if you went barefoot in the garage
you'd get hookworm. Likewise what he said
about fleas giving you tapeworm,
though I have to wonder about the accuracy of that one.
It was Southern Baptist country
and worms were everywhere,
chewing through apples, measuring cubits,
raining from the sky, whispering in the ear
of the recently no longer dead.
And then there were the elders
draping worms around their necks
and holding them up and feeling the worms
within their mouths
flop out to speak to them.
It should have scared you,
but there you stand, arms spread,
feeling the worm wriggle
from fingertip to fingertip,
your entire body convulsing
as it measures you.