Mary Holland


Sitting on my heels peeling

grass from clods and browning

my arms, or whacking stubborn

clumps with hoe’s bowed back,

plunging its prongs in shocking smacks

that yield a clatter of small white rocks.

Picking them out one by one, tossing

them to a growing pile that satisfies

without proving progress. The sun

reveals the bits of shade each day will bring

as earth admits worms, roots, and onions

blithely being amid what thoroughly has

been. Who used this comb to smooth her hair?

What string of circumstances put this strange

iron thing precisely there? We live

atop a host of buried worlds, putting

things in, bringing them up, making

others’ forgetting into our finds.


My son comes out to check the progress of

the plot. He’s not as awed as I would like.

We will plant beans and herbs and brussels sprouts—

his favorite—and watch them green the dirt

behind the safety of the rabbit fence.

June will be salads, August tomatoes, and

luck might grace our fall with celeriac.

What else we’ve planted, treasures hid

or things forgotten, it’s hard to say.

Someday someone else will dig them up.


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Shawangunk Review Volume XXXII Copyright © 2021 by Mary Holland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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