By Lydia Ondrusek

After the ground is burned and

its black skeleton trees removed

the machines scrape

till it bleeds yesterday,

worms rolling up to escape;

the warm dark disturbed

by needs no one understands,

by dreams that include no

living protective layer, no smell,

nothing holding life

or its confusion.

When the ground is cleansed

by those who do not know

what it is, what it means,

do not weep.

Start again.

Bring in deep mulch to blanket the startled ground,

to hide its nakedness, and when it asks,

say: “it was a dream; a nightmare, yes, go back to bed.”

Plant new trees, small and tender. Tell them stories

so they know they can be

penthouses for song.

Plant flowers, by design.

The ground forgets its nightmares,

even stone ones, if allowed.

The ground is wise.

Lydia Ondrusek is a native Texan who describes herself as writing her way out of a paper bag. She writes fiction (mostly flash) and poetry, and like everyone in this and all other parallel universes, is working on a novel. Okay, two. Find her at and, and on twitter (@littlefluffycat).

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