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soil by Irène P. Mathieu


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.

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