Close up photo of plants

below the ground now wet and cold
the old dirt greeting the new and becoming mud
expanding as the water slips through each surface gap,
you worm your way through the dark shades of brown
each a story like tree rings that are reminders
of the things seen and the things felt:

there is the soft darkness of almost-mud, a moist mire
from a sprinkling shower or a quick springtime cloudburst,
and there is the nearly gray crumbling decay
of days and days without rain when you pray
for the clouds to come and quench the earth.
but your favorite is the mud: so dark and so cold
from the downpours that drench your world of dirt

you push yourself through the chilly expanse
now enveloping you, mudluscious and murky.
you emerge with bits of soil still clinging to your skin
and you lie with your back to the sun and belly in the mud
content to be still in your earthen home


By Zoe Burke

Zoe Burke received her M.A. in English from the University of Dayton and now teaches composition classes at her local community college. She grew up in West Virginia but currently lives in Ohio with her husband, German Shepherd, two cats, hedgehog, and tarantula.