Diet of Worms – a poem by Bud Sturguess

Diet of Worms

The boys at the conference feel so sorry for me
"He thinks the Diet of Worms is a diet, of food,"
they say among themselves
"He knows not enlightenment
He is simple, he is not truly Reformed"
Another says,
"I heard him once say he had never heard
of the Nicene Creed!"
And another adds,
"I heard him say he reads Beth Moore!
Has he never heard of Piper or Bonhoeffer?"

So I sit alone and eat my dish of worms
while the others, careful to avoid me
for fear of catching some Baptist sniffle,
indulge in big, lofty cakes
The icing is too rich, but they chew
and make the most absurd faces,
faces one makes when pretending his nose doesn't itch
The bread is too tough for any of them to slice and share
So they proclaim it predestined to be uneaten
I ask them what this means, 
but there are worms in my teeth
and they tell me they'll send me an email
with a link to explain it so I'll understand

So I sit alone and eat my diet of worms
They are sweet to the taste but bitter in my stomach
I remark to one of the boys passing by
that truth and revelation from God are like my worms,
or like the scroll eaten by John -
so sweet to the taste, but when we must face them
and apply them with all our grit and tears,
they're so trying on our guts

He suggests I read The Pilgrim's Progress
and walks away

Bud Sturguess was born in 1986 in the small cotton-and-oil town of Seminole, Texas. He has self-published several books, his latest being the novel Sick Things. Sturguess’s work appears online at New Pop Lit and Erato, as well as in the print anthologies Mid/Southfrom Belle Point Press, and The Daily Drunk’s From Parts Unknown. He lives on disability benefits and collects neckties.

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