Alice Morris, two poems


Dirt

Third grade– Bring your pet to school day.

My pet– Sally, the yellow-spotted salamander.

Captured in a window well.

Kept her in a five-gallon steel bucket halfway filled with dirt.

Watched her tail grow back.

Lugged her in that bucket four blocks up to school,

and back. Blistered

both my hands.

At the age of ten,

having discovered that the earth held a coolness,

I started digging an underground fort.

Two large windows, abandoned

in the garden

would be my roof.

Provide panoramic views of sky.

Knee high in dirt pit,

sweat stinging my eyes, I begged brothers and neighbor kids to help.

They bombed me with rotten tomatoes.

Called me crazy.

As I laid my shovel down, looked

toward the flaming methane sky, there,

from his twelve-foot perch, in his chicken wire cage

was my brother’s talking crow, shrieking

my name.

White-haired now, I watch my dirt-covered hands pulling weeds,

gathering zucchini, cucumbers,

yellow beans,

as golden orb weavers

among vines

erase/re-stitch,

set bold white zippers

against the dewy stillness of early light.