chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Tag Archives: dirt

found poem: the sound

found poem: The sense

found poem: to turn

found poem: DIRT

the meticulous…



shovel dirtThey had hardly spoken, the birds in the cottonwoods saying all that needed to be said, answered by the crunch-scrape of their shovels in the moist soil. A shovel tip would clank and one of them would bend to free another grapefruit-sized stone, tossing it to the side. Their shoulders and arms and backs understood this labor, moved in silent rhythm in the white glare of the summer dawn.


She pauses and looks back, waiting. Peers around. Desert.

Off to the side, a hill where patches of yellow flowers hug the contour of a depression between two soft ridges. A bird coasts high overhead without moving its wings, dark against the sky. The high-pitched cry of a hawk.

Her footsteps crunch, dry, gravelly. The soil is compact and hard, with just a layer of wind-blown dirt on top. She bends over and scrapes a bit into her hand. It’s light brown and grainy, gritty, sandy. A few tiny black specks: seeds.

Holding her hand near her face she sees there’s something crawling, some desert bug swept up in mid-transit. It’s impossible to tell what it is, the color of the dirt, but almost transparent. Perhaps a spider, a mite.

With a finger of her other hand, she pushes the grains around. Some seem to be perfectly round, little spheres of planetary matter. Others are flattened, with crystal edges, quartz. She takes one of the larger bits, still only half the size of a peppercorn, and crushes it between thumb and forefinger. It seems to vanish. A memory of moisture having held it together, as the soil and rocks are held together and pressed into mountains, now just a trace of grit. A tiny, flat fleck of mica catches the light.

Her hand is dry, but this dirt, trained by eons of searching for water, has begun to settle into the lines in her palm where, perhaps, the faintest moisture and heat hold some promise of spring rain, floods and flowers. Her life line an oasis.

She extends her arm, palm up, the tiny creature still moving among the grains. There is no wind, no breeze to take it away. She waits, arm out. Then, slowly, she tips her hand and the few loose bits of dirt scatter at her feet. Now only the darkened traces remain in her hand—head line, heart line, life line—and these she brushes away, first with her fingers, then slapping her palms together in a sound that startles her with its flat insignificance.

%d bloggers like this: