slick of the earth

by Tara McGowan-Ross

the slick spring opened up and swallowed the building
(whole): your bed, your blanket, the biting insects (and all)
o, the magnificent down of your stomach. o, the biting
sting of hair that pushed so insistent through my pores.

the sidewalk and leading into the gape where men sleep
snuggled up against the organs of their homes, the organs
of their bodies and their fathers bodies protected gently
by cupped hands, the way they tend to this generation, the way

they tend to in this part of town. could I have brutalized
the boys who dared press their too-clean fingers into this
most perfectly muddy of nights, defile the peaty air with
their sharp and sanitized things, their tongues, their words

their smooth and impenetrable glass bottles keeping
their vicious liquid inside? o, us women who keep
the dirt of the past safe inside our porous hides. o,
us women who keep the holy filth slick as pomade

in our hair; who collect the castoff tissue and soak it into
hungry cotton to seep out into the trash-heaps and nourish
the thirsty earth (which we all return to [desperately], eventually
[or every night]) so we can be tilled like beloved herb gardens,
kept in streaky windows, leaking that springtime wetness
and tiny little insects, while on the television some woman
with no body screams that all we do while living is wash things,
try to keep the dirt in one place. eat things before they turn to earth,

scrape and soak away the earth that we become, the earth comes back
on the soles of our shoes, the earth comes back smudged into the ridges
of our fingers, the earth comes back and takes us down into the earth
eventually (or every night). this is what it is to be alive. this is what it is.

o, the little boxes we could have tried to herd death into,
if I had been brave enough to scream with you. o, the way
our greases could have defiled those sanitary workmen. o,
the soil I could have shown you, harvested from my limbs.

o, the glass that would have glittered
where I should have thrown it.

slick of the earth is out of print from The Blasted Tree Store

Featured by The Blasted Tree: September 15, 2017

Tara McGowan-Ross

Contributing Author

slick of the earth by Tara McGowan-Ross is a Blasted Tree original poem.

Edition of 100 special edition leaflets published in Canada for inclusion in filling Station magazine, small press issue.

Cover Design by Kyle Flemmer