What Lies Beneath

Early on Thursday

a truck, toting a backhoe

arrived at the small, grey-blue house

to undo the ordinary cement patio.

As a jackhammer did its work, 

jagged slabs of concrete loosened

for the backhoe to scoop up.

Heavy, stagnant,

the concrete did not bend or flex.

Awkwardly, the backhoe coaxed

each piece toward the waiting truck.


the earth took a deep, cleansing breath.

Shaking off the modern mantle,

the ground released woolen threads

from a tartan picnic blanket

that lay on this spot in 1942.

Ripe apples, waxy cheese and iced tea

scented the air

during a rare respite in wartime Washington, D.C.

The next breath

recalls the Union soldiers

who tramped through the light woods

toward nearby Virginia Seminary,

now a hospital for the wounded.

Drawing deep,

the earth protects a shell necklace

dropped 400 years ago

by a noble Algonquian.

Living in harmony 

with mother earth,

the Algonquian understood

we are all visitors here.

One thought on “What Lies Beneath

  1. This is beautiful. I love how you capture the breath of our planet and that is completely prevented by pavement. So true! Your creativity in depicting the history beneath the surface is unique- it makes me wonder and appreciate our own swatch of yard and what has happened here through the ages. I loved the thinking your piece inspired me to do. Thank you!


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