Photography © Karen A. Szklany


The Weight of Dirt

under the carved stones dotting
the soft hills spaced every three feet lies a woman
planting dirt stuck to her dress
legs stretched out
arms crossed
resisting still the

inexorable crush of decay
eyes sewn shut
hair perfectly coiffed
tied in a small knot behind her head
eyes still shut unmoving as the shovel tip
splinters wood

he trusted her so completely but then
she died he says he leans against the
handle puts all his weight behind the blade
uncovers enough of the coffin to open
the lid flashlight patient over her clothes
remembers the color of her eyes
pulls the ring off of her finger

to give to the next wife.


Holly Day’s writing has recently appeared in Analog SF, Earth’s Daughters, and Appalachian Journal, and her recent book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body, and Bound in Ice. She teaches creative writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and Hugo House in Seattle.

Karen A. Szklany was born in New York and now lives in a New England co-housing community. She is the author of several collections of poetry, gardening books and Unitarian Universalist sermons. Karen also serves as a Life Healing and Transformation Coach on the labyrinth path.