That day at Gaithel Simpson’s farm
we followed Ben Ross down the path
to a gray rock face he struck with his pick
and bent to see clams in his hand
smaller than my little finger’s nail.
From limestone. Mississippian.
300 million years.
The world changed
suddenly. The ground I stood on,
walked on, was a myth, a story—older,
unimaginably, yet, made of days—like
this one the sun moved slowly over.
And walking back,
he stopped and said, “Do you smell that?”
I did, indeed. Melons. Warm and sweet.
Easing into the weeds, me just behind,
he pointed to the tangled copperheads.
Deadly and calm. At home. At ease.