Tracy Fuad

I wasn’t waiting my whole life for you.  

But now, when I write, I write mostly for you.

Mostly, I call you “worm.”

Moving underneath the surface, hypothetical until it floods. 

Not a copy, mold, or echo.

Not something made against the shape of something else, a reverberation off a surface.

More body flooding out of body.

More composite: two planets, smashing together.

For example, the taxi leaving my ancestral town.

So recklessly I leapt out halfway to the capital.

For example, a novel and virulent agent, growing as my love grew.

Reprogramming the honeycomb of living things to do its replication.  

Yes, for you to live, non-living things.

And semi-living things that spread and made the living cease to live.

Worm, from the hypothetical root wer-, “to turn, to bend.”

As in verse, “to turn back.” As in the German werden, “to become.”

Or Old English wyrd, for “fate,” for what befalls one.

Or warp, or wring, or worth. Or reverberate. Or converge.

Yes, at first you’ll be unseeing.

For half a year, you’ll know only my single taste.

Then you’ll encounter the world.

The world will flood in.

And the world will keep flooding in.

Tracy Fuad is the author of about:blank, a finalist for the National Poetry Series and winner of the 2020 Donald Hall Prize. She is a 2023 NEA Fellow and lives in Berlin, where she teaches at the Berlin Writers’ Workshop.
Originally published:
February 15, 2023


Louise Glück’s Late Style

The fabular turn in the poet’s last three books
Teju Cole

The Critic as Friend

The challenge of reading generously
Merve Emre

Rachel Cusk

The novelist on the “feminine non-state of non-being”
Merve Emre


New perspectives, enduring writing. Join a conversation 200 years in the making. Subscribe to our print journal and receive four beautiful issues per year.