Hanover Dig by Jean Jackson

I look toward the row of trees

where water runs slow and see you blurred

by a thousand years; your skin wet

as you crest knoll dragging clay filled pots.

Your brown hands pat clay dug

from shaded stream, onto braided cordgrass

covering earthen lodge. Spread

it smooth with a bison scapula to sun

bake into waterproof roof. Painstakingly

we lift that same clay daub

collapsed centuries ago. Find

where you placed evenly spaced poles.

Were they willow, supple yet strong

or cottonwood now edges stream?

This June day, sweat channels

ancient dust layered on our skin.

“Come see!” a sapling thin

woman calls, uncovering a circular

depression lined with fire blackened

hearthstones. Here you kneel, parch

wild grains for evening meal.

Scraping bone hard dirt with care,

I unearth a mouse skull. Did it

steal your gathered grains? I

finger potsherds; each minutia

of your life marked for further study.

you turn and fade into late day blue.

We load artifacts into crates for the ride back.

Our leader chooses to hand carry your

tribe’s ceremonial pipe. Remarks,

“and still no peace.”

~ Jean Jackson

Jean Jackson was a stay-at-home mother of five in Lawrence. After her nest emptied she volunteered at Watkins Museum of History, the Senior Center then Independence, Inc. where she accepted the job of librarian for their specialized library. She writes free verse and Japanese poetry with haiku, senryu and haibun.

Guest editor: Annette Hope Billings is an poet/actress/playwright from Topeka, KS, who has written two collections of poetry. In 2015, she stepped away from four decades of nursing to writing full-time and explore where her creative path was leading her. Her most recent collection of poetry, A Net Full of Hope, was published last year and has been well-received, garnering her a readers’ proposed title of “Maya of the Midwest.” For more info about her book:tinyurl.com/anfohbook To view videos of her work: tinyurl.com/anfohvideos To follow her on FaceBook: Facebook.com/anetfullofhope.

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