of dirt –
What it means
is what it does.

White dirt residue on torn
cotton sheets. The salty pebble taste.

What it does? Forces back the earth
with aching shiny shovel. For pretty worms, and
soft pale skin. Soft tongue undone with callused palm –

Go digger! Go down the shaft! Let the wet stone
eat you – mud to mouth, clay to bone, stone to silence.

What it means: to drink gritty coffee in the kitchen without words
or fresh cream. Uncertain of the morning newness. Scratching at your tired digger.

Throat hole sarcophagus stretches, yawns, releases the ghosts of tiny translucent worms
that burrow, seeking something solid. And what it means will haunt
me in fantasies. Shaft where shaft should be, earth piled.

What it does in newer mines is keep the
ghosts alive. The salty pebble taste on tongue,
the dirty morning grit of creamless coffee.

What it means is never having
my own ground, not touched
by digger’s shiny spade.

What it does
is dirty.