Down at the end of the lot,

kneeling in the loam, two hands

held out like a heart, this spring


he opens himself slowly

and pours a handful of seed

into the hole, listening


for a moment to each sing

of salvation, such language

vanishing into the trees


above him, like the dashes

and dots of Morse code he learned

in the service. Now he reads


the light that the sun scatters,

the grubs and worms he unearths

as he probes his trowel, hidden


water like a secret held

delicately in his mind.

After he covers the pile,


but before he can move down

the row, he winnows a bit

of dirt through darkened fingers


as his father had taught him,

taking a moment to breathe

the scent lodged beneath his nails.



Robert Fillman‘s chapbook, November Weather Spell, was published in 2019 by Main Street Rag. His poems have appeared in The Hollins CriticNashville Review, Ninth Letter, Poet LorePoetry EastSugar House ReviewTar River Poetry, and others. Fillman is an Assistant Professor at Kutztown University.

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