Box of Dirt

By Lucas Gonzalez

i.

Excavating box of dirt was a thing to dig when I was a kid:
Opening up the glossy box, impatient, unfolding its rigid lid.

My favorite things were mesozoic,
covered with likeness of beasts long-dead.

We can only guess what killed the past,
& never know how the thing roars.

ii.

Encased in the carefully-folded paper,
a brick more like a clot of blood.

The tiny tools
would scrape the earth
to burst through the bleak
compact top layer,
sifting carefully
to brush away the dirt
revealing white gleam of a rib,
a reaching hand encased in sand,
until the Cretaceous gnarl
of a spine
would emerge from nothing—
dead delight,

confirming all that had lived before
had also died, and turned to stone.

iii.

No one listens, but I think I know
what it all was like in days before:
glazed donuts at the mezzanine floor.

mirrored belly of a pedestrian bridge,
science store in the subterranean mall
before the entire structure dissolved.

iv.

What do you believe they might have unearthed—a whole night of streaming blue-red sounds. Once the fires quelled what began, what digging dogs tried to dig out ,
silence was the very thing most loud, sharp arms and columns of collapsed hulk,
the dark, twisted hallways of a tall hotel we lived in when we could not go back.

 

v.

what else did you unearth
and bring to light

what other things did not survive
but could only be recovered in part

what else did I find
I could not find

in between the poisonous breath
in the lung’s cement corridors

what unsolved things
in the incinerating struggle for truth

can we give our lives to
and at what cost

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Lucas Gonzalez

Lucas Gonzalez / About Author

Lucas Gonzalez is a poet from New York City. His first novel, Maple Machine (2006), was published by 826 National (McSweeney's Press). A recent Pushcart Prize nominee, Lucas holds an MA from Middlebury College and is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia University, where he serves as Community Outreach Editor for Columbia Journal.

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