Beneath our Feet and In Our Hands – a poem by Jill Crainshaw

Beneath our Feet and In Our Hands

Jack Frost is curled up napping
In my bones.
Backyard grass crunches
Beneath my feet.
Summer sunflowers hibernate
In my heart.

Could it be—
When I hold this dried out husk
Springtime rests on wintertide fingertips?
Tender-strong sugar snap seedlings
Unfurl from soil-stained shells,
And burst through splashing earth
Gasping for the sun—

Storied dirt collects under ungloved fingernails,
We plant seeds of sensuous new seasons.
Infinitesimal harbingers of arugula and radishes;
Sealed wombs of history repeating itself:
The farmhand mama is a sinewy ghost now, her
belly a tomb of memories; wasting away
workers harvesting fecund fields
on empty stomachs to satisfy
other people’s ravenous appetites.

Dirt weeps sometimes too.
We dare not forget
What remembering sows
In our bodies.
We are braver than we want to be
In our bones.
When we take our shoes off,
We absorb holy ground nutrients
Beneath our feet.
And we water with tears
This garden we hold
In our hands.


Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her poetry explores connections between the sacred and everyday life.

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