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The Hurt of Pleasure

Text of Poem

Once a week she comes to share
time with me. Today I spread
manure on the garden and she watches.
I have a wooden paddle to clean
the spade, Iowa loam absorbs
moisture and is sticky to work
as I turn it over. She holds
tulip bulbs in her lap and does not
say much but I know she feels queer
about the muscle in her roots—
plants that grow underground
like carrots, potatoes, beets:
she knows the tulip bulbs
won’t explode but she handles
them carefully. We think our own
thoughts on a day like this
and say them to each other
without words. Beneath the topsoil
of memory our human rootedness
in each other stays alive and she
comes on a spring day to watch me
plant the tulip bulbs she held
in her lap as if she felt the hurt
of pleasure in sprouting seed.

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Once a week she comes to share
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Once a week she comes to share / time with me.