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my mother once saw a red-tailed hawk
dive into our backyard
catching a smaller bird to eat

it’s spine, pubis, and left femur
I found two weeks later
half buried
under the flower bed

Cleaning animal bones/skeletons by leaving them in a controlled rotting state. This is usually done by putting them in containers filled with warm water, at a stabilized temperature to be left for days
Bone maceration;
three months later
I buried something of my own
in it’s spot

Three months after that
I dug it back up
I Learned How to Dig
bending down on one knee
using the other for leverage

wearing gloves only sometimes
but getting splinters from the garden shovel when you don’t

folding forward
chin tucked
head down

moving away mulch with your

until soil starts to show

using hands or

shovel or

to remove the ground

standing to rid yourself
of tool and glove
hands centered

outward from the chest

slowly tracing your left hand
along your right

moving up the arm as it moves

your right arm swings out
slowly still either by
the force of the left

or through ritual motion

your left hand makes its way to the shoulder
then across the chest
it traces along its own arm now

swinging out
slowly still

now both arms are wide

hands open

body accepting
a year later and I still have dirt
in my hands


do I muddy everything I touch
with these
hot, stained fingers?

does the trace of that dig get

larger through each interaction
or smaller as it leaves my body?

does it leave at all?

Molly Wasielewski
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