One has to dig out eventually. It’s very hard
to get all the life out of life. It abhors a vacuum,
I know, having flown out for the funeral, cleaned
for the estate sale, while back at home bindweed
slipped into my neat row of eggplants and choked
them out. I was drinking sweet tea in late heat
under a kudzu-clogged carport, marveling at
how time and place are inherent in the ground—
From the initial descent these roads were rust
-colored threads, familiar red clay. And not unlike
grief: Resisting, impermeable, until they give way.
And so we bury the things we love, commit them
to the earth, for safekeeping, or, I don’t know—
It does what we cannot. When I finally came back
to these gray skies my harvest was already done in
by fall rains: A field of felled tomato stems, liquefying,
putrid, with plasters of blight, forests of mold hairs,
collapsing husks returning to whence they came,
rat-bitten skins bursting to reveal bright seeds,
like so many small promises, each one saying:
Even neglected, even laid to waste, nothing is ever
wasted, nothing is ever gone, no, no, not completely—


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