I walk the dogs
on zulu time.
Digging Up Peonies
Vivian C. Shipley
Overcoming fear of stalks that
are too close,
I remind myself it's a Lexington,
on fields meant rattlesnakes curled in rows
of corn would be cold, sluggish. Like prying
out potatoes with my fingers, I dig up tubersas
if I could lift my father, seeded with cancer,
if only for a day from gravity, from ground.
My parents know what I know -- this is the end;
they will not return to this house my father built.
No refugee in Kosovo, wheelbarrowing
his grandmother to safety, I will bring as much
of Kentucky, of their dirt as I can carry with me
on our flight to Connecticut. A bride, moving
to New Haven over thirty years ago, I have
not taken root. I cannot explain this urge
to go to creekstone fences my father stacked,
dig up box after box of peonies I will bank
into granite piled along my side garden
so my father can see pink, fuchsia blossoming
from his bed. Is this what revision is, change
of location, spreading, to retell my story
another time, in another soil? Unable to untie
what binds me to Kentucky, to bones of all
those who are in my bones, I will save what
I can of my mother, of my father from this earth,
from the dissolution that binds us after all.