Then Worms Shall Try

The Melic Review, one of the stalwarts of the web-publishing world, ends its nine-year run with a wonderful edition only slightly marred by the inclusion of my story “Then Worms Shall Try”. I’m not sure how long it will be around, so visit soon and take it all in.

This is an odd story, if it’s a story at all. Its subtitle is “Seven Studies in the Efficacy of Andrew Marvell’s ‘To His Coy Mistress’”; and if poetry were a drug, the FDA would hardly approve it for long-term use based on this research project.

In this age of fiction masquerading as memoir, I should perhaps make note of the memoir masquerading as fiction in this story. I was, and remain, smitten by the Cavalier poets of 17th Century England, Marvell in particular. And on two occasions, very broadly fictionalized in this story, it did prove to be efficacious (though, to be honest, I got better results from “A Room With a View” and Joe Jackson lyrics).

Truth: my wife can make a black-and-tan without a spoon. And that’s more than enough reason to marry her.

Fiction: no one has ever quoted Edna St. Vincent Milay’s “First Fig” to me.

Truth: I did find the e-mail address, a couple years ago, of a girl who said she “fancied” me when I lived in London, by reading the scientific literature on a topic that I do not understand.

Fiction: I never changed my major. I was, and am, an English major, often of the annoying variety lovingly lampooned on A Prarie Home Companion. No girl could get me to abandon Marvell or Milton or Milay.

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