This ground is fertile    |    warm and moist   |   small things live here   |   bristle and dream here   |   germinate and wriggle here   | |   We’ve been a while now   |   in our element   |   breathing deep   |   long and slow breaths   |   mostly we sleep   |   dream   |   losing shape and form   |   melting into each other   |   relaxing and contracting   |   here slime meets calcified edge   |   sludge kisses recrystallized carbonate mineral   |   rubs against chiselled form   |   and softens it   | |   They tend to us   |   pile manure high atop   |   compost left-too-long vegetable scraps   |   rotten fruits   |   and more   |   a stench   |   makes an offering of waste   |   the fractured head crown seems to nod   |   sacrificial gesture   |   a stone shoulder peeps from the soiled mass   |   a cloaking   |   our lady approves   | |   She wears another on her breastplate   |   a gorgon’s head severed   |   to protect   |   through dense earth   |   to keep a periscope eye   |   to petrify   |   patriarchal priorities   |   reassured by wriggling reminders of virility   |   fruit-bearing death-dealing   | |   When disturbed, we’re shrill   |   shrieking at a frequency inaudible to human ears   |   groped and prodded by fresh, fresh too clean hands   |   never done a day’s work in their life hands   |   wrung out, scrubbed, rinsed, and dried hands   |   fragrant and entitled   | |   Take her and we turn to dust   |   crops fail   |   shrivel and dry up   |   seedlings fail to germinate   |   beginnings stuck   | |   Take her and she’ll throw herself overboard   |   plunge into murky depths   |   take you with her   |   your vessel   |   your plundered treasures   |   you   |   beneath salty froth and foam   |   try us   | |   Build new temples   |   high walled, high powered temples   |   devoted to speed and duplicates   |   hiccup slippery   |   washed, oiled, and polished   |   squeaky clean   |   bring those who brought before muddy offerings   |   here now to lay down instead   |   a mechanised labour   |   for stale daily bread   |   rinse and repeat   |   clean and sudsy   |   new rituals   | |   This ground is fertile   |   but trodden underfoot   |   hardened   |   but we’ll quiet   |   until she returns   | |