Against the Ground

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Against the Ground

Against the Ground

Sarah Wells writes of the mixed message spring sends here in Ohio.

"Against the Ground” by Sarah M. Wells

I was wheat-field flat and growing
into rolling foothills. Somewhere in me
were illuminated cities waiting for dawn,
but my factory towns slipped into dusk,
their single-panes broken against mid-day light.

I did not see myself deciduous,
shedding cherry blossoms like wilted promises.
The spruce with its blush of blue growth
led me to believe I was evergreen, but even that
cannot withstand six months of winter salt, of ash.

Snow melts before it hits the earth
as rain in a season I pretend is spring
because the crocus and daffodil return
and the factories churn out suburban shopping marts
and parking lots filled with rusted pick-up trucks.

I wait, perched on my steel I-beam,
for students to come home,
but it is spring, and the frost returns to kill the buds
before they’ve bloomed. The Earth turns,
pushes fieldstones into my hands for harvest

before the plow restores the hollowed stalks
of last year’s crop into the dirt. Earthworms
labor alongside the farmer who toils
against the ground, ready for the slow shiver
of crops, slow billow of hope.

"Against the Ground” is part of a longer poem titled “Ohio” by Sarah M. Wells in her book, Pruning Burning Bushes. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012. Used with permission of the author.

Sarah M. Wells is the author of Pruning Burning Bushes and a chapbook, Acquiesce. Her essays and poems have appeared in Ascent, Brevity, The Good Men Project, New Ohio Review, Puerto del Sol, River Teeth, and elsewhere. Sarah is the Administrative Director for the Ashland University MFA Program. Visit her website.