Earth Day Poetry: “Everything Turns” by Faye Quam

Dear Reader,

April 22nd is Earth Day, so I thought I’d honor the day by posting “Everything Turns,” my poem that arose from a tactile fantasy about the earth surrounding Rutland, North Dakota, earth my great grandmother used to farm. It’s sensuously fertile, this earth, and I want to plunge my hands into it until I’m up to my armpits in its cool, luscious blackness.

I can’t break Colorado earth with a spade, much less my hands. It’s stubborn, clay hardness, survival in little rainfall; it’s beautiful in a way. But this poem isn’t about North Dakota or Colorado earth; it’s about indulging my fantasy.

Everything Turns

Green crumbles to fall dry

I bend to brush it from

my shoes, but something seizes

my fingertips, insists I burrow

nose and nail through damp

clay, sand, foundation rock

Wrists, armpits, and navel wriggle

Thighs, shins, tips of toes slither

deep then dead-drop to where

dark mixes with day, ice spins

to heat, to where hair dissolves

into water, into before and after

Everything turns a slow turn until

spring’s sun resurrects me with

clumped dirt filling my mouth, with

root arms embracing my waist, with

a pussywillow plume brushing

my chin as it flies north.

This poem appears in Scarf Dancer: Poems & Other Writing.signature11


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