Why should it be so hated, the word for soil
as the farmer longs for it, for the fresh loaf,
for the inside of the lips, the indoor pool’s
sweet chlorine air when winter burns your throat?
For the brush against your thigh of a dog’s nose,
for skin vital in its perspiration,
the velvet eyelid petal of the rose,
those other lips below, and the agile tongue?
Maybe only one who has been dry
and cold for years under Saturn’s tutelage
would need to praise the word that all decry—
a word for tears, for the heart, for new ink smudged.
A word for the peach after the knife goes in:
pried deeply, split, its inner gold now shown.


Anne Myles’s poetry has appeared in the North American ReviewSplit Rock ReviewSweet Tree ReviewLavender ReviewEkphrastic Review, Early American Literature, and other journals. A recent transplant to Greensboro, NC, she is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Northern Iowa and in 2021 received her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.  She is a 2021 Pushcart nominee.