about the author

Kathleen Tryon is a Clinical Social Worker and writer living in Syracuse, NY. She is a graduate of the Syracuse Downtown Writers PRO Program for creative nonfiction and is a regular participant in their poetry workshops. Her work has been published in Sweet, The Stone Canoe, and the Reader’s Write section in The Sun.

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Two Poems 

Kathleen Tryon


                      I’ll call it unripe hard

                                  safety pin prick

                      hole where a rock was

                                                You are

                                  checking in    or    checking out

                      red knotted up cord

                      I dial up my dead
                      mom and she answers

                      reprint of her
                      heaven, patches of irises, lilies, oleander, a gazebo
                      framed over her old flat mattress

                      no, you can’t become flowers again
                                                                   flowers happen once

                                                                       I say      Who has my voice

Night Crawlers

Friday, just after dark, Ned, creepy Ned, the Ned, from Ned’s Bait and Tackle, coaxes us off the street and into his van with cans of Budweiser beer. Ten to fifteen, white-skinned, scruffy, kids cram into the seat-less, hard, hollow back-end for a jostled and bumpy nine-mile ride down Rt. 298 to the golf course. We spill beers on our jeans, and smoke cigarettes, all giddy and high. Our single moms too busy doing what single moms have to do to know what we are doing. Listen, Ned pays a penny a worm. One overcomes gross fast when desperate for money. When he rolls open the door, we set our sneakered feet onto the damp turf as he tells us to. We flick our headlamps on. We tiptoe. We hunt them down with our beams. We pinch the sawdust, because you can’t grip slime with bare, sweaty fingers, and pull (not squeezing too hard) their wiggling, contracting bodies, in the exact opposite direction they are burrowing back into the earth. We hope they don’t snap in half. Ned only pays for whole worms. And snapped-in-half worms die. We drop them into metal buckets. Sometimes I throw the halves in too, to see what I might get away with and make their lives worth something. The next day I go into the shop to collect my pay. The bell on the door clanging. Ned smiling behind the counter at his customers. All kinds of poles and nets for sale on the walls. Plastic see-through containers of squirming worms on the shelves for 3 cents apiece. I don’t know what he owes me. I always lose count. Maybe I make enough to buy a pack of smokes or a couple of joints. Maybe, if we all pitch in, we can afford a nickel bag of pot for next Friday night.

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