WORMS IN PALERMO
falls around me
like apples from a music tree
tasting like gravity I bite a word
with a worm in it: the worm stands for
insecurity But what does insecurity stand
for? Some days I think I’ll stand for anything: I’m such a worm
A noun plops on my head like a Granny Smith
A verb zings through the air: right between
the eyes! Though it zaps me down
to size I don’t lie down alone
but with my friends i vermi
grace notes to the
When the first lines of this poem fell on my head, I was thinking of the scientist Isaac Newton (1643-1727). We all know the story about how the great man was sitting in his garden with a friend when an apple dropped from a tree, bouncing off his noggin and triggering the theory of gravity: “Why does an apple drop straight down and not otherwise?” Eureka! Newton himself told this story — perhaps without the actual head-bonking, though I think he had a bit of the poet in that fertile mind of his. For a week or two I called the poem “Newton,” but as it rolled along he disappeared like a fallen apple. My “Eureka” moment in this poem came when the worm crawled right out of the middle of it. Yes! Hence, we can deduce that hypothetical Eureka discoveries can be of cosmic or comic importance.
—Peter Meinke’s new collection, Tasting Like Gravity, illustrated by Jeanne Meinke and named from this poem, has just been published by the University of Tampa Press.