dirt

the smell of freshly turned earth when we wake

            & the groan of machinery outside
                        moving mounds of silt

from one end of the lot to the other

            clearing slabs of chalk
                        that jut from the topsoil

                                    of the town’s new rim

                        the county-road’s rain-filled potholes
                                    moonlit

& stitching a route south of here

            as we rustle in our sheets & dream
                        about the hill of dirt

                        in our yard being worked
            closer to completion

                        as if it were our own child
                                    moving nearer to term

                                    at the lip of this bank
                        a scattering of foxglove sways

                                                in the grip
                                    of the october wind

                        the future tilled frantically
            amidst the stink of diesel

& the diggers’ crude talk & soiled hands

            the soles of their steel-capped boots
                        stretching the world

            & building on it further around us
                        without us

Daniel Sluman is a 34-year-old poet and disability rights activist. He co-edited the first major UK Disability anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, and his second collection the terrible was published by Nine Arches Press in 2015. He has appeared widely in UK poetry journals and he was named one of The Huffington Post’s Top 5 British Poets to Watch in 2015. He is currently writing his third collection of poetry, about living with disability and chronic pain, to be published by Nine Arches Press in 2021. He tweets @danielsluman.

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