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

ferrets.

 

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.