Once I was Eve / by Melissa Laree Cunningham

Do you remember that scrap of paper with words of dirt?

Words of the glories of dirt, hands dug deep into dirt,
the rough, sweet smell of black earth.
An earthenware mug with black coffee, still steaming,
on the nearby log in an early morning.

I cannot be without this memory.
Those scrapped words; a poem, long-gone.
We find ourselves here, breaths quiet and eyes
turned toward the tilling, the weeding, maybe it was the something else altogether.

In time, this very morning, in all its stillness and life, in its recognition of the realness of me standing
here in this yard, between these stalks,
this very morning is condensed into that scrap of paper with words of dirt.

I cannot stand in fields, in yards and recall those words on paper
anymore than I can stand in rain without melting into the other-self,

the Eve of deep remembering.

———

Her skin is now pungent, slick with wet, Queen Anne’s Lace in spring, filling ditches by the roadside.
Her hair is straw,
brittle with length, gold strands whipped wild in the glory of sun.
Her breathe is now dark, filled with smooth clay dug from the garden bed in summer.
She sits back on heavy thighs, listening.
She sits back on heavy thighs, a quiet, growing thing, chest heaving.

—2019