Straw and dead root hair gave up the zinnia ghosts’ grip on the dirt so easily after that frost. Manila tombs labeled with our late professional addresses could hold whatsoever colored promises, each shredded skin nimbus, a dead head. What came home finally to me that night by the dregs of a votive candle’s light would have to be exhumed by tools now stored away in cellar cobwebs behind the bicycles, lawn chairs, iron rakes, and grass whip.
So the next morning it all drove me to the monastery, where I helped the nuns peeling and coring Arkansas Black apples for the seasonal pies, where I could join them cutting and gouging out the few bad places, talking of our friends who since the last election had been threatened or excluded from local Dollar Stores.
Vickie Cimprich is a Northern Kentuckian who has also lived in the Kentucky mountains. Her poetry collection, Pretty Mother’s Home—A Shakeress Daybook (Broadstone Books, 2007), was researched at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill with the support of grants from the Kentucky Foundation For Women. Her work has appeared in Dappled Things, The Journal of Kentucky Studies, The African American Review, The Merton Review, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society.