Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Digging Up the Briars

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Digging Up the Briars

Article excerpt

Any stretch of rain will tell you, the bulb is what you want, nothing less: its spindled fist of roots and curses - so rarely where you think. Which is half the trick: reading your entanglements, to work

your way down without severing your leads, digging past and around all that discouragement of rock. Once you're under, you're bound to lose what's what . . . call it the unconscious cunning of weeds,

the way their fibers twine and strangle, so when you get there, when you catch the ganglia with your spade, levering the shovel-handle like a jack, it's not the weight of the prize you feel, but some force

of need woven into the nervous system of things. For every bulb you claim, there's one you don't - this much you know - so that your arms grow heavy in their sockets, in that ache suspended between accomplishment

and failure, and the sleep that takes them over, green with greed, sending its shoots into the bedsheets below. And crowning everything the disfigured hearts of leaves, bearing you up: more light, more light:

how far to the little orange lamps of knowledge in their orchard, in your sleep no less . . . how far to the garden gate at the end of the world, where you just might look back and wonder -

no surer than before - what lies on the other side of all that infusion of duty and desire, all that work you worked your life for. …

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