earthworms on the sidewalk

one foot in front of the other
as the sun rises
and the steam does too
up from the paved sidewalks
winding along as
the road’s amenable companion

there are worms all over
and I step around them
avoiding the carcasses
as most are already dead
though it’s not even nine

occasionally I come across one
still wiggling
trying to escape the heat
that attempts to take its life
I feel pity and if there is a stick
or leaf
I will lift it up and toss it in the grass
in the hopes that it will live another day

but if there is no stick
or leaf
I leave them to their fate
their life dependent on nothing more
than a speedy belly crawl
and a good sense of direction

why do I do that?

is a slimy hand too much to pay
to save a life?

I feel for them
winding their way in the darkness
the feel of the pavement cool and different
than the grass of home
seemingly a harmless, adventurous choice

and yet
in the light of day
the truth comes out
as does the heat
and lives are lost

some days I am like the worm
and I give thanks for those
who take a stick
or a leaf
and lift me out of the mess
I’ve crawled into

and some even use their hands
taking mine into their own
leading me safely home

By Elizabeth Ann Colette (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Elizabeth Ann Colette (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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