But after three steps into the evergreen shade,
he drops to his knees and begins to furrow.
It’s here, mama, he says. Let’s dig.
I pick up a knobby spruce twig and poke absently at dirt,
hoping we can start walking again.
No, mama, like this. With your hands.
I pretend I don’t hear.
He takes my hands in his own, forces them down.
Fine sand runs through my fingers,
old spruce needles swim in it like unstrung commas.
I settle in, sifting and digging up dirt. Making piles.
No mama, deeper than that, he says,
scratching with his nails into the hardpan.
I dig deeper, past my desire to keep my hands clean.
Past whatever I had set out to do. Treasure is cold
and filled with crooked things that slip through fingers.
"Treasure Hunt in the Woods" by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. Published on the poet's blog, November 26, 2007. © Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.
Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer (originally color).