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Rated: E · Poetry · Activity · #1770750
A memory from Niles, MI (2008)
It takes a special person to get excited over a soil change.
They don’t start out that way, but develop a hyper-reality
as they dig, sift, sort, destroy. Each new level has potential,
eyes become accustomed to the minute, learning new loathing for bioturbations –
new and old. Worm, mouse, mole, crawdad, rabbit, fox all chance a visit,
leave prints and holes in their midnight wake.

Inexperience loses days, being too mindful of rich alluvium –
knotted roots require chainsaws and sharpened trowels. Always,
always straight walls, line levels, tools accounted for, and shovels facedown.


A horizon is subtle, lighter, thinner: grave of the first
dated artifacts likely to be found at last! A hard clink
and a scurry of trowel scrapes (watch your depth!) reveal the promise fulfilled -
a bone, hardly longer than a thumb, yet there is pride,
pride of this was in my pit. Time unravels for their moment;
a deep weight soaked into their aching back and calloused palms.

After weeks of wet screening, they have lost the joy in bones and stones,
glass perhaps or pretty beads, ceramic is rare,
they know the difference between French and British.
Metal fragments occur, copper and iron, gun flints and other parts,
pendants, ornaments, a cow bell rings only for the unique.
They search each day until at last, the brief occupational
zone displays evidence: stones lie flat, ash and burnt clay
scar the land, too deep to be shuffled by the pitiless plow.

Features numbered, photographs taken, colors recorded, profiles drawn, they must go on, beyond their target, for this is the only way to be sure they've reached the end,
when orange, gray, wet sand is all, and there are finally no more bones to find.
The next day, they will lay tarps down and bury their summer.
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Knopf (kimberly_knopf at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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