a worksong for the apocalypse: Dirt. Colleen Maynard.

20 Nov


In the evening when mom and dad are making dinner, the best place to be is inside the bottom cupboard where the potatoes and onions are stored. Once inside, you will have to sit with your knees pulled up to your chest, your head against your knees, so as not to scuff the base of the silverware drawer. A molt of vegetable-dirt will cake your shoes. Besides actually digging a hole in the backyard, it’s the closest thing I know to being buried for short periods of time. Deathly black too, and except for the sound of the pressure cooker you can practice for the real thing, so when it happens you’ll already have had a dry run. Sometimes there’s a rolling sound above you, and a tiny slit of light will appear across your arms. Should this occur, you must purse your eyelids because when you are dead there is no light that shows you what your arms look like. Most certainly there are no voices underground that say “oh excuse me dear, could you just move your head for a minute, I’m trying to get to the oven-mitt.” Occasionally the wood-paneled door to your cupboard may creak forward a crack, and then you put your steadiest fingernail underneath the handle’s screw and inch the door toward you, just as you might pull a blanket to your neck. In all these ways you can practice for when you won’t have eyes. Do this soon and you’ll find how little space your body needs to sharpen all the overlooked things unknotting around you. You may find that listening to knives coming down on cutting boards is not unlike sitting in a comfortable back seat inside of a car driven by soft-spoken people you trust.




Colleen Maynard





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