Kitchen Sink

Today she would change nothing,
not even the walpaper peeling
like dead bark. Nor, outside, the shadows
approaching the yard where ants
toil like women in their houses of sand.
Never mind that the sun will be setting.

When she was young she felt afraid
of hard wind and the rain that unsettled the creek.
But the earth never left her,
not once did the floods reach her feet.
The reward of a long life is faith

in what's left. Dishes stacked on a strong table.
Jars of dried beans. Scraps of cloth.
And the ten thousand things of her own thoughts,
incessant as creek water. She has been able

to lay up her treasures on earth,
as if heaven were here, worth believing.
In the water her hands reach
like roots accustomed to living,

the roots of the cat-briar that hold to the hillside
and can never be torn free of this earth completely.

:: Kathryn Stripling Byer, The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest

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