The Black Napkin Volume 1 Issue 3 - Page 27


turning tennessee clay to prayer

by Larry Thacker

The landscape guys have been tilling

the backyard for three hours

just to manage

a fair enough bit of garden space,

ten rows if we’re lucky, but they’ve barely

disturbed this anciently waiting

Tennessee clay,

tiller bouncing in protest

with the grassy maze of stubbornness,

carving by slow inches.

It’s odd how different the soil here is

compared to the black softness

back in Kentucky.

I could jam my hands

down into ground there without the help

of a tool.

Here it’s like punching sidewalk.

The clods of earth there in the Old Dark

Bloodied Grounds

fall apart in your

hands like easy prayers. Here is like squeezing

a rock, like hard time praying,

when you don’t know what the answer

will ever be.

How will anything ever grow?

How will a prayer be heard?

The grass sure does grow fine, though. Why

wouldn’t anything else? Cucumbers? Corn?

Kale and spinach? Runners? Tomatoes?

The idea of burrowing into the ground here

to pray seems impossible.