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March 15, 2023

In Praise of My Dirt

R. Lee Fryar

Sun-brown, sweet-potato child,

Little girl-boy, dirty hair, dirty eyes,

Digs holes in the dry earth,

Grinds soil between their hands, rough as a cat’s tongue

It rolls off like shelling peas—

Yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full sir—

Purple-stained fingers pick the seams apart;

Seeds rattle free with a damp, green plunk

While heat lighting plays over the mountain

Where the dwarves build, where the goblins go,

And mushrooms make fairy houses,

Like the ones in the blackberry thicket

Where the wasp stings sharp and bitter

As a berry’s red kiss,

While smoking clouds burn with Dragon’s flame.

Plunk, plunk, plunk, the peas go in the pot,

The way the stories fall

In that same dirt

Grown smooth with sifting

Through dirty fingers.

Little boy-girl, they will bury you with dirt under your fingernails.


R. LEE FRYAR is a writer from the Arkansas River Valley. When she isn’t writing, she can generally be found up a mountain, out on a river, or in the woods somewhere. She is the author of two published works of fiction, and another pending publication in 2024. She has had other nature poetry published in Anti-Heroin Chic.

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