To dust

After reading The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan.

We held the worms and mites in soil and faithfulness for you

Our roots stroking them

Contented in the deep good earth ten thousand years

Intimate with both soil and sky

Not remote from heaven


And you—you even dwelt in the soil with us

But then you raised up houses

Where you would sweep, swab, and wash your dust-clogged clothes


We still clung to the earth

Even when its people and its buffalo were taken from it


Not prosperity, no, it was your reversion to poverty

That slaughtered our final expanses

That made our ruin, and yours


In terrible rows we fell

Before your mechanized zealotry


Was your reaper so loud,

Your scythe so efficient

That you did not hear the earth’s death rattle?


But soon

You could not breathe either

Andy Oram
February 13, 2024