In the spring the men come out again to clear
the land, yellow Cat dozers popping up on hillsides

like morels to be collected after the first warm days
of May. In fields studded with the rhinestone glitter

of purple knapweed, trucks nose aside whatever lingers
too long in the path: stones laid down by a glacier’s

swollen body, a rain-washed pair of child’s underwear,
white-spangled fawn fresh from the belly of before-this-world.

Untouched? No such thing. Scoured clean and dirtied up again, laid
to rest only to have the soil peeled back from the jaw bone.

What hasn’t been repopulated by trespassers, colonized
from the inside out? No wonder my body wants to do

the work it was always meant to, spiraling deep within itself
to make from this wildness something that belongs here.


Keetje Kuipers, a former Stegner Fellow and Pushcart Prize winner, is the author of two collections of poetry. She teaches at Auburn University, where she edits Southern Humanities Review.