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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.