poetry After the Press Conference
After the Press Conference
By Hayden Saunier
I’m back outside, hands deep in dirt and dirt’s
the only thing that’s telling truth today.
O.K. I overstate. Dirt’s not the only thing
that’s telling truth. My hands, in fact, aren’t in
the dirt—I’m wearing gloves, the woven fabric
kind coated in synthetic rubber polymers
which is the truth because I looked it up
and took that definition from two independent
scientific sources, but it’s not a truth I know
the way I know how to wrench and cleave
a plant into pieces with a sharp spade,
garden fork, and fixed knife blade.
We call this propagation by division.
I loosen roots with my gloved hands, dirt
being all that holds their threads together.
Dirt: from, or cognate with, a half dozen
Middle English, Old Dutch, Proto-Indo-European,
and Norwegian words for excrement.
This dirt is mid-Atlantic farm dirt flecked
with mica, shale, leaf mold, fungi, and the shit
of four Sicilian donkeys and a Shetland pony.
Truth is we know when someone’s lying.
Truth is we know when we pretend we don’t know
someone’s lying, when we let the lie go, take the money.
This dirt’s not telling truth, it isn’t saying anything.
Except: this shit’s not complicated and: we’re in it now.
Hayden Saunier is the author of several books of poetry, and her work has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize, Rattle Poetry Prize and Gell Poetry Award. Her most recent book, A Cartography of Home, was published in 2021 https://www.terrapinbooks.com/saunier.html. See also www.haydensaunier.com.