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Digging – Gopi Krishnan Kottoor

The soil I now pick

contains fragments of the dead.

They once saddened and happied themselves here

turning to the sun and moon, quite puzzled

then taking things as they came,

for granted. This is hard brown laterite

that I turn,

to plant a few bright periwinkles

stolen from the mound of one long obscure,

dead. They should grow well

here. So I turn out

the millipedes curling up

ashamed of the sudden expose

into dark ring stones of sapphire and topaz.

Pinned to sudden light they have all coiled up

in abject surrender. These things we bury back

with pushed up soil, crushing strange roots

going everywhere like soft nerve fibers,

sending messages of thirst to strange

destinations. Each scoop of mud

brings more life to light

lost like death underground

doing odd jobs, ordained like saints, salient

in dark recess drawing salary in kind.

Mud-work is a kind of work ship.

A silent thanksgiving for a home, called earth.

∼ Gopi Krishnan Kottoor

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