Ordinary Dirt

Light copper clay

clothes this spirit,

houses this farm girl soul.


No noble-born lady ever walked

in these grass-stained shoes

and cut off jeans


or walked her dog

by the pond

along the muddy field


where buzzards roost

on a barn, waiting

for cows to die.


It wasn’t a beauty queen

who pulled garden weeds

in mid-day heat


while manly sweat

soaked her hair,

dripped into her eyes,


and deposited salt on her lips

so that she jumped into a pool,

still fully dressed.


There is no fantasy-dream woman

under these wraps, no Snow White,

no damsel with doe eyes and cherry lips.


There is only me

sun-freckled, cornbread eatin’,

southern-drawl, bean-shellin’,


To the Fallen in the Battle of Mill Springs

Northern boys. Southern boys.

Just boys.

Black boys. White boys.

Just boys.

Somebody’s brother,

somebody’s son,

somebody’s sweetheart.

Just boys.

Cold, hungry, bleeding,

longing for home,

childhood or eternal.

Just boys.


*I wrote this with some friends upon visiting the spot in Nancy, KY where Gen. Zollicoffer was killed during the Civil War.