How to Garden in the Family Graveyard in Zebulon, North Carolina: A New Poem by Brooke Baker Belk

Thank you to Long Exposure Magazine for the publication of my poem “How to Garden in the Family Graveyard in Zebulon, North Carolina.” Go check out longexposuremagazine.com for more new and emerging writers!

Sink your hand into the loam
slowly. Allow
the rasp and scrape of buried pebbles, bits
of brick, mortar, snail shells, nails
from a lost house of a lost century
to slide by your hand. Allow
the slugs and earthworms.
Allow the dirt.
Sink deeper.
Sink to your wrist.
The earth will grant you this, it is heavy
with last night’s rain, the earth is wet and waiting
and you are not an interloper, you
are standing on the bones of your grandparents.
Close your eyes.
Your eyes are in your fingers, in the dark
tunnels your fingers have made,
flushed and throbbing
with the red light of blood
as you slide by other times
and grasp for the remnant you need,
the hard cold thing in the sandy ground
covering your family’s dead,
the dark hard thing that’s waiting to be found:

the last bulb of the purple crocuses

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