No Where is Dry by Michelle Hillyard

Poem title: No Where Is Dry Poet: Michelle Hillyard Poem: i. My father pounds the lawn, patchy grass staccato on a dirt caked drum. I strain to grasp a rhythm. The shovel continues like rainfall Again. Again. AgainAgain. Again. Againagainagain. Again. ii. The store at the bottom of the hill, a crowded junk drawer of convenience, sells worms. Pepsi fridge shelves lined with translucent plastic jars, dirt and writhing under fluorescent. A cardboard square taped to its door reads; 10 pour 3,50 $ 20 pour 6,00 $ 50 pour 14,00 $ My father asks for ten. His English drops, clunky, thudding the faded linoleum. He accepts the folded brown paper bag, says mare-see. The cashier slides his change across the counter in silence. iii. There is a wrong way to touch a worm. Slide with the grain as you caress. It will lubricate its panic. Don’t mind the mucus. The muscle will relax. Elongate. Longer. More. More. More- Good worms aren’t cheap. The worm will settle. It will still. It will twist, rubber band-snap under the knife, a frantic frying pan dance of blood, earth smearing on sun-aged wood. Save whatever you don’t spear. It will live. Close the lid so none escape. So they survive. v. The dip in the asphalt-path hoards water, its goose-bumped surface bearing witness to the sparse drizzle. Curls of leaf sail the collapsed terrarium of mud and earthworm bloat. I crouch close, the rain crescendoing against my umbrella, a muted spatter of applause. One by one I pluck each worm from water; a wriggle wets my palm. The rain grows. The puddle shorelines my boots. I step back, cradle my collection to my chest. End of Poem. Credits: Copyright © Michelle Hillyard Appears in the League of Canadian Poets’ Fresh Voices 21, edited by Joan Conway and Blaine Marchand. Michelle Hillyard (she/her) is an award-winning poet whose work focuses on neurodiversity, mental health and body positivity. She’s the workshop co-ordinator for the Mississauga Writers Group and co-founder of the MAC sponsored poetry series Verses Out Loud (with Paul Edward Costa). Her work has been published in Freelit Magazine, Alt-minds magazine and in “Brickyard”, an online spoken word collection by Brick Books. You can find her online via

This poem first appeared in Fresh Voices 21, a project from and for the League’s associate members, edited by Joan Conway (Check out her personal blog!) and Blaine Marchand. The League’s associate members are talented poets who are writing and publishing poetry on their way to becoming established professional poets in the Canadian literary community. We are excited to be taking this opportunity to showcase the work of our associate members in this series!

Fresh Voices 21 includes poetry by: Lisa Alletson, Moni Brar, Neall Calvert, Melanie Flores, Michelle Hillyard, Frank Klaassen, Joseph LaBine, Josephine LoRe, John Oross and Nan Williamson.

Check out Fresh Voices 21