Six brown ferrets, sinuous,
were winding themselves like living ropes around
the legs of the dining room table,
each as narrow as my wrist.
We all admired the ferrets.
Then I returned after a week and found
six earthworms shriveled on the carpet,
leathered, thinner even than my thinnest finger
had become. Only the strongest of the six
was still wriggling.
My poor ferrets, my unfed, shriveled
We went to the vegetable patch,
all six riding on my schooner palm.
The soil looked dry. So was my mouth,
else I’d have spit in it. “Goodbye,
my ferrets,” I said as the live ones
burrowed pitifully into the earth.
The others rested dumbly at the surface
as if watching the moon landing
from a good distance.
“You’re too skinny,” said a carrot underground.
“Skinny girls forget to feed the ferrets,
and then look.”
That’s what the carrot said
when I grabbed its leaves close to the scalp
and uprooted it, dirt flecks raining everywhere.
Can you trust a carrot? I asked my mother.
I don’t know. I’ve always just assumed.