Possibly the river is a large worm. Some have suggested this. The rumors have flown as rumors do, and come to the ears of the bar regulars, those fellows who gather in the early morning to take the edge off the day. Their river! A worm? Oh this causes much dissension, argument, controversy — even a few fistfights, but those take place out back in the alley because the many-tentacled bartender will not permit violence in this bar and swiftly evicts the perpetrators. But only until one or the other concedes and then they’re back on their bar stools. This controversy, this vile possibility that the river may be a worm, threatens to make them late to their shifts and since the fish that were promised have failed to arrive they abandon their small happy boats and with weary resignation make their various ways to their various jobs of just barely gainful employment. No one notices the river, who has gone back underground to weep at their infidelity to its friendship. And perhaps to change into its worm form and seek out a new host, a more welcoming host, one that will provide free smokes and even some good tunes on the jukebox, one that will feed its hunger. Because during all this time, while it was making friends at the bar–so it thought–it has not fed at all and it is becoming very very hungry. It has heard there are many stray dogs in Bear Creek. It hates the thought of stooping so low as to even…. but it is so hungry, so hungry. And that basketball game? Its team lost. It might as well head for kinder territory. If any is to be found, in Bear Creek, for a shape-shifting river worm.
Kyla Houbolt‘s chapbook, But Then I Thought, is forthcoming from Above/ground Press http://abovegroundpress.blogspot.com/. Also forthcoming is chapbook Surviving Death, from Broken Spine Arts, https://thebrokenspine.co.uk/ in November, along with a re-release of the chapbook Dawn’s Fool. The chapbook Tuned is currently available from CCCP Chapbooks, here: https://cccpchapbooks.bigcartel.com/product/tuned-selected-poems-by-kyla-houbolt. More of Kyla’s work can be found on her linktree, https://linktr.ee/luaz_poet. She is on Twitter @luaz_poet