Dig Me When the Dirt Dies
Splay the hands to stay the dust they fling from under rugs. Stretch the flesh and press the peach to please the rosy house frau. Smack the stacks and snap the bones back. Take the loathsome load off. Leave the lonesome, listing light on. Crack the case and splash the swill to map the chilly channel. Heave the heady hats home and sing the steady English. Hide the might in mink and pump the lean with milk. Prime the leads with lead and leap the spark with love. Bring camelhair, cannon balls, running boards and underwire. Bring chicken feed, booby traps, gaffer’s tape and tennis nets, widow’s peak and writer’s cramp. Fire up the pool cue. Tighten up the coxcomb. Break out all the bathing caps and powder up the ice. Flee the nearest sandpit and freshen up the muscle tone. Order us some blanks. Rustle us some batteries. Loosen us some lithium and lighten us some lodestones. Put them in a storage bin and place it in the vestibule. Mark it with a penguin pen. Make it look like yeoman’s work. Make it pay in peanut shells, something to write home about. Wash it on the windowsill and whip it on the wainscot. Win it in a derby and will it to your heirs. Punch it up with London lights, with linden brooks, with China plates and candlepins, with canneries, with artisans, with arrowheads and lynxes. Bundle up your thumbtacks. Tip your cape to waiters. Consecrate your walking stick and dedicate your cane. Sweep the sweets from off the steps and treat the rain like water. Fly me when the wind sighs. Cry me when the time comes. Dig me when the dirt dies. Fly me when the wind sighs. Cry me when the time comes. Dig me when the dirt dies. Fade.
Without the wind to whip its wings and push the broken clouds to where the geese have taken leave to follow dreams of fleece that flies, the lumber yard that hides its hopeful skin in tons of brick has come to stand the watch and watch the night pretend to sleep, glancing at the shore that shakes its head and sticks its tongue out at the mouth that gets the joke, that guffaws the song that sings, singing itself, breaking the spell–the spelling of "rhythm" you never can guess, but sometimes recall. You’re mining the light in the bindings of books you find reading themselves in your bed, remembering thoughts you mislaid in a forest that never was more than the sum of its branches, never was less than the weight of the rain that waited for silence before it began, with statues of ashes of clothing of soldiers who opened the doors of the sun, with teeth of a dolphin who slew a balloon while everyone sighed at the bagpipe parade, with mist in their eyes, and how everyone knew what she did back in college but no one especially scandalized, and the time it took, and the space it gave, and the way that you woke up and greeted the morning, folding your tent and inflating your feet, and the lightning that struck at the noon of the ashcan, wilting the rose in the heart of the clam, and nobody minded, everyone walked in the garden calm as can be, except for the kind of minor disturbance that just makes your reverie sweeter, and comical, every old pratfall carefully honed but appearing completely spontaneous, like when length of the shoe was the measure of mirth, with nothing to change but your pants in the office, no one to notice the socks on the windowsill drying their sorrows in moonlight, no one to grab you and shake out the eggshells and tremble the flank of your steed, and everyone checking their watch in the hall, harking to sounds of wheels full of meat, searching for means to fund labs for their scientists, looking for ways to find mean-looking lady friends, hiring the mad to look glad at the sally-port, oh what a life to be living, and my what a time we have fled.
©2010 Karl Roulston. All rights reserved. Used by permission.