Howard Firkin
(Death Notice)
The worm is that worst secret: known well, but
which everybody thinks their own alone
and feels the secret gnawing into bone,
adrift in flesh and anchoring in gut.
The worm digests us, hour by painful hour.
The worm jaws move in peristaltic waves,
methodical tick tocks, relentless, insate.
Deliver us our pain and call it fate,
and help us spend the lives that no one saves,
for thine, worm, is the kingdom, thine the power.

There’s nothing different about today.
Through all lives runs a single, sooty thread:
you lose your glasses, spill your coffee, say
the inappropriate about the dead.