Archive for the ‘Brian Rihlmann’ Category

Worms by Brian Rihlmann

A mother sits her ten year old
daughter down over lattes and tells
her in an earnest tone how disappointed
she is at her choice of clothing.
She pinches a fold of the girl’s baggy
sweatshirt between a thumb and forefinger
like body fat calipers, and with a face that
just sucked a lemon, says “tomorrow
I want you to wear the shirt we just
bought, with that vest, and I want
the vest zipped up, and if I need to I can
call your teacher to make sure…”

After, mom gets up to use the bathroom,
leaving the girl alone, staring into her cup.
She raises her eyes and sees me, but before I
can give her the smile I so desperately want to
give her, she looks away again. Stares at the
table as the words burrow, doing their job—
the way worms soften soil for a thousand
seeds, cast by careless hands or shifting
winds. I swear I can even hear them.
From ten feet away. I can hear their
horrible tiny mouths chewing, gnawing,
tunneling deep inside her.




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