by Lucinda Lawson

Terrible our years beneath
the weight of pressing dirt, of earth
packed tight upon our backs,
between our days. No levity,
no gladness in the heavy dark or
clock to time the labor of our birth—
just burrowed beetles’ tapping marking
madness in the intervals of dawn to dusk,
of spring to spinning leaves.

What call awakens us? What summons
draws us from our dreaming, up
through layers of lives surface-lived,
detritus years deposited, these litterings
of leaves that settled unobserved?
We push aside familiar silt and tunnel
past the ground we’ve known. We hook
our claws into the tree, take a solid hold,
cling tight. Below us, mold; above us open
branches, air, uncustomary light.

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