Whatever it means,
how could you not love its squirming sounds?
The only place I’ve seen it used in context
is in a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins,
so I still don’t know what it means.
He speaks of a falcon swooping,
And this reminds him of embers that
“fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.”
Vermillion then is something that can be gashed,
something that can be gold.
I could look it up,
But what if it doesn’t mean “a million tiny worms”?
I picture them in a bowl,
twisted and tangled like thin spaghetti
in bright red sauce.
If sprinkled with tiny cellos instead of cheese,
they become vermicelli.
Don’t, please don’t look it up.
Or if you do, don’t tell me what you find,
Or the word will be nothing more
than a city southwest of Cleveland.
It will no longer squirm
in my concave bowl of a brain
making me happy as Sunday dinner.
© 2009-the present
Image links to its source at Wiki Commons; public domain