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Michael Garrigan



Dirt of our Dearth

I was hoping joy would overflow this spring

as usual I’ve wasted another East Wind

it’s been years since I could look at flowers

if not because of cares then illness.

- Yang Wan-Li


How long has it been since I shook

someone’s hand? Just a fist bump,

but mostly, a hug, is what I want.

It’s these months when, as star of bethlehem

false hellebore and waterleaf break soil and drip

seed back to ground,

we hug what was just dead or maybe just asleep.

It’s so easy to keep our palms closed, our arms

locked tight around our own body, but that only

keeps us so warm for so long. We must break

ourselves open and burn our lungs with cold air

before we hug the warmth of another.

We need some belief in embrace.

All I want is someone’s shoulder blade

under my hand, to feel that long bone

through thin t-shirt cloth and to wrap

each other’s bodies chest to chest as we

break ground and the dirt of our dearth falls

on our shoes that are so close together that

I can smell what you had for breakfast

I can hear your breath and when you blink

your eyelashes tickle my cheek, buds blooming.

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All images other than author photos and artist artwork ©Matthew Batt 2020