by Irène P. Mathieu
from the book orogeny, 2016 Bob Kaufman Prize, Trembling Pillow Press
the way you say soil sounds
like soul, as in
after she walked through the woods
my feet were covered in soul
when it rains
the soul turns to mud
the soul is made of decomposed
plant and animal matter;
edaphology is the study of the soul’s
influence on living things
while pedology is the study of how
soul is formed, its particular granularity.
you are rooted in a certain red patch
of soul that bled you and your
hundred cousins to life, a slow
warm river you call home.
maybe there is soul under everything,
even when we strike rock first.
the way you say soil you make
a poem out of every speck of dirt.