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Last week I took a shovel from a prepared heap, scooped earth easily, turned, threw it onto your coffin, plain pine. Now I lean hard on a spade, press into a hill of my making, good tilth. I spread it, seed grass. I sweat. I move earth as if to make the whole world even. This is my yard. I’m intimate with the dirt here, the worms, can tell by the sound what resists: the blade strikes thin plates of slate, hard mill waste, tough roots, coal, signs of who came before— Indian head penny, tiny car, water-green marble. At ninety-five you were so small I could have carried you alone, laid you down, lowered your body into the grave.
Copyright 2022 Arlene Weiner
Arlene Weiner’s books include More (Ragged Sky, 2022). She lives in Pittsburgh.
Such heart in those descriptions.
Yes, we experience the death of our pets as a loss equal to that of a family member.
“At ninety-five you were so small…”
We all have known, and perhaps will be, that person.
Leaning hard into the hill of our own making, recognizing the archive we uncover/recover. Thanks Arlene!
The descriptive archeology of Arlene’s reminders. I am grateful to be conquered by her signs of who came before.