The crunch as my trowel bites the soil is Heaney-esque.

I stoop low, hands buried in cool dirt

and the sky blooms blue

like an eggshell washed in old paint water.

I sink my knees into the clay and bend over like a cat

amongst the daffodils with their heads tipped up like tiny crowns

under a bush spread out like a huge green hand.

The yellow plastic of my raincoat crinkles.

A worm has beaten me to the hole I’m digging;

when I pull apart the soil, I find

a slender punctuation mark in the mud.

Its pink body threads through the dark clay.

Sometimes it is hard to dig a hole,

to look at what is not and replace it with what will be,

when the earth opens up, only to reveal

that something is already there.

I stay in the garden digging holes only to fill them up

until the lingering birthday-candle smell of a 

bonfire blows in from next door

and the sun, a waxy flare, sets in the butter-white sky.

Artwork by Rachel Jung.