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.

2 thoughts on “What Lies Beneath

  1. There is SO much I love about htis poem.
    A favorite line is: Shaking off the modern mantle
    It perfectly describes the concrete driveway from the earth’s POV!
    I love how you incorporate the history of your land, back to WWII, back to Civil War, back to the natives. So powerful.
    Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad you continue to write poems.

    There are poetry groups – have you joined one?
    You might check out these 2 slicers who post poetry all year long.
    Margaret – https://reflectionsontheteche.com/
    Catherine – https://readingtothecore.wordpress.com/2021/04/01/national-poetry-month-writing-wild/


  2. 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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