and an eye a little uncertain of itself. Among other

children, he becomes an aspen, a breeze ruffling

the mouth. It shivers, bends, resettles


itself. And when he lies down to sleep, it

does not come easy, because a worm means

an absence in the middle of things. I could talk


all night and never soothe his confusion,

only quieted when he is running — vaulting

over earth rock water — on land kept


alive by downpours and string. I owe the world

for this boy, who knows the threading

of leaf veins, thrills at frogs, every moist,


unfurling tongue that snaps on a whir. When,

in the net, the catfish flips and writhes, he lets

it fall to slap the pond, and disappear. Already


he knows how tight and muscling the heart

can grow. The bite space in the chest — what

the worm leaves behind — is large enough


for a windy carol. Can I protect this emptiness? Can I

protect it while he grows? Can I fill

this space? Can I keep it green?