I dig in dank soil,
dense enough to bend back
the cheap handle of our new-bought
bulb-planting tool. Mosquitos
blur between my eyes and bangs
and I can’t wipe my face from sweat
with these earthen hands. In each
tubed hole, I reach an old spoon
to tap its tip against the brasting bulb.
I am trying to see into the earth
but the dark minions are in my eyes
and the green flopping leaves of hosta
remind me how many things, from
plant to double-headed dog
or gatekeeper waiting for change
are meant to keep me
from seeing or living down into it.
Our world wants up
amongst the bite and sting and sweat.
The dug earth might smell
of wet dog and blackened leaf,
and the tulips might wave to us
each spring coming,
but they’re as close as we can get
and not nearly enough: no
merging of our world will ever occur
with that of our still loved
and harder and harder to remember dead.
— Laura Lee Washburn