What is the opposite of a burial?
It is not a birth, exactly, nor merely
an excavation of what came before.
I stand alone in the cold, shovel in hand,
an easily discernible figure against
the snowy New Jersey day, in a field dotted with gray. Spy
me through the empty, coated trees.
I wonder how to do this unwieldy task.
Where do you start when
the ground has decided it will not yield?
I broke every bone in my body
to unearth what lay beneath my feet:
The skeletons of two boys, entwined
in ways they shouldn’t be, a long jagged femur draped
over the pelvis of a smaller figure.
How did they come to be this way, buried
among their great-grandfathers & great-grandmothers?
Pale reflections of the stones stretch out, the white ground filled
with pockets of gold, amber, decay.
Anything that was holds just as much truth
as anything that breathes & walks this earth,
which is to say, what it will tell you
when the dirt has been removed from its mouth.