Digging by Linda Parsons

Linda Parsons is the 1st place winner of Streetlight‘s 2023 Poetry Contest

Photo of lots of white potatoes
Photo by Hai Nguyen on Unsplash.

Dirt peppers the sink as I roll palm
to palm these golds heaved from
the ground with heft and pitchfork,
this egglike clutch for soup, stew,
hash, roasted, smashed in fall’s coming.
I roll them lightly, thin skinned, perfect
and misshapen, knobby knuckled.
Dirt becomes dust filming my hands
I am loath to wash, for here in the grit
of new potatoes I am one with the garden,
back bent, salt sweat, my own stew
of becoming. And I think what else
I’ve washed from my hands—

ire of estrangement, pea of discomfort
bruising a hundred restless nights, stones
thrown in the light of day. In the end,
none of it marks my lifeline with innocent
blood, washed clean at last, carried so long
as to be humpbacked as my grandmother
at her factory machine cutting buttonholes.
Lightly I brush them all of whatever
hold they had over me, glint dug
from the cave of earth itself,
a bowl mounded, creamy, buttery,
a scent of rosemary,
a big, hot mouthful of new.

Linda Parsons
Poet, playwright, essayist, and editor, Linda Parsons is the poetry editor for Madville Publishing and the copy editor for Chapter 16, the literary website of Humanities Tennessee. She is published in such journals as The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, Terrain, The Chattahoochee Review, Baltimore Review, Shenandoah, and American Life in Poetry. Her sixth collection, Valediction, contains poems and prose. Five of her plays have been produced by Flying Anvil Theatre in Knoxville, Tenn.

Follow us!
Share this post with your friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *