I have witnessed this sight quite a few times and, despite the humble context, I am always struck by the idea that we can find ourselves in a situation gone wrong, so easily and so quickly, without knowing why.
Having set out to get somewhere
this ordinary worm
now has run into trouble
two-thirds of the way across the path,
a seven-foot-wide desert in the summer sun.
He doesn’t move fast even at the best of times,
being the ordinary kind
you see wriggling away when you lift up a rock
or maybe you catch to use for fishing bait
these aren’t the best of times.
He is out here on his own
having chosen to take this route
and now he is covered in sand
from head to toe, or rather, end to end,
like a chicken leg rolled in flour.
Maybe the plan was too ambitious
the risks of travel were underestimated.
In any case, things have gone badly.
I push a tiny twig
carry him to the tall grass
set him down.
He drops into the tangle
I hope he’ll find a way to clean himself up
and go on his way, re-glistened and relieved.