Karren LaLonde Alenier


for days no weeks I have
been thinking about dirt
how the declension dirty
dirtier dirtiest rode the fore-
front my approach to daily
living in opposition to clean
cleaner cleanest
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaathen you
passed I saw the body just
a shell but for you no bed
of dirt rather the cleansing
flame till you yielded bone
still you wanted to be free
scattered in your boyhood
park the gardens there full
of roses
aaaaaaaaand I am wearing
your hat leather gloves that
belonged to your father
tilling the soil you turned
early in spring plucking now
tomatoes beans cucumbers
getting my nails black digging
beets carrots daikon radishes
seeing where the worms work
wondering if my body at day’s
end should be showered
in its box with shovels full
of mourners’ dirt


Karren LaLonde Alenier is author of seven poetry collections: Looking for Divine Transportation (The Bunny and the Crocodile Press), winner of the 2002 Towson University Prize for Literature, and The Anima of Paul Bowles (MadHat Press), which was selected as 2016 top staff pick by the Grolier Bookshop (Boston). Gertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On, her jazz opera with William Banfield premiered in New York in 2005. More information at Alenier.blogspot.com.

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