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About this Poem 

"Poets of witness navigate the world in such a peculiar way, seeking justice through writing; punishing and praising with language. This poem is entirely for my quiet brother who is blessed with the gift of withholding."
—Rachel McKibbens

deeper than dirt

Rachel McKibbens


after the poet asked how I would bury my brother

Beyond the carrots and blind white worms, beyond
the yellowing bone orchards and corkscrew roots, 
beyond the center of this churchless earth, beloved Peter, 
my little sorcerer, brought up dirty & wrong, you deserve more 
than to be smothered in mud. For all the gravel you were fed, 
for every bruise and knot that named you, I must plant you 
in a bed of blood-hot muscle, must deliver you into me, so I may
carry you as the only mother you have ever known. 

Copyright © 2013 by Rachel McKibbens. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on November 7, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Rachel McKibbens. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on November 7, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Rachel McKibbens

Rachel McKibbens

Rachel McKibbens was born in Anaheim, California. She is the author of Into the Dark & Emptying Field (Small Doggies Press, 2013) and Pink Elephant (Cypher Books, 2009). McKibbens is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion. She co-curates the monthly reading series Poetry & Pie Night with poet Jacob Rakovan in upstate New York.

by this poet

poem

To my daughters I need to say:

Go with the one who loves you biblically.
The one whose love lifts its head to you
despite its broken neck. Whose body bursts
sixteen arms electric to carry you, gentle
the way old grief is gentle.

Love the love that is messy in all its too much,