After the planting’s done, the rows of pansies and marigolds covered and watered,
the roses tethered,
I go on digging, obsessively delving into dirt with my little blade, forming a wound
which I gradually widen,
scraping soil and shale from the hole, piling it up on the lip, tossing out bits of quartz
Burrowing—furious as a badger—I uncover a netherworld of crawling, sliding things
that gleam and scatter from the light:
black, iridescent beetles, weevils and panicked ants, clumps of grubs writhing in golden
a pair of coiled snails, a nest of sexless worms (their skin so thin you can see through
and further down, the husk of a locust, one gossamer wing miraculously intact, latched
to the thorax.
This is the world of undertakers: calm, black-suited men, who, as the priest invokes
stand at graveside looking down, where it begins.