A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
I’m back outside, hands deep in dirt and dirt’s
the only thing that’s telling truth today.
Perhaps I overstate. Dirt’s not the only thing
that’s telling truth, my hands, in fact, aren’t
in the dirt, I’m wearing gloves, the woven fabric
kind coated in synthetic rubber polymers
which is the truth because I looked it up
and took that definition from two independent
scientific sources, but it’s not a truth I know
the way I know how to wrench and cleave
a plant into pieces with a sharp spade,
garden fork, and fixed knife blade.
We call this propagation by division.
I loosen roots with my gloved hands, dirt
being all that holds their threads together.
Dirt: from, or cognate with, a half-a-dozen
Middle English, Old Dutch, Proto-Indo-European,
and Norwegian words for excrement.
This dirt is mid-Atlantic farm dirt flecked
with mica, shale, leaf mold, fungi, and the shit
of four Sicilian donkeys and a Shetland pony.
Truth is I know when someone’s lying and I know
when I pretend I don’t know someone’s lying.
This dirt’s not telling truth, it isn’t saying anything
except: this shit’s not complicated and: we’re in it now.
Copyright 2019 Hayden Saunier