Poetry Archive

What the Earth Carries

I. My grief is buried somewhere deep. Where it can settle, be nurtured, and sprout as  something less disruptive, more fresh, and closer to the living.  

II. Granny worries that I didn’t grieve properly at Mama’s funeral. I want to tell her my grief  has been released back to where it came from, until I am ripe enough to bear it’s season.

III. In a dream, Mama, with her slim, black fingers adorned with bright gold rings, braids my  hair down my back. She is focused. Meticulous. I wake up, and rub the thick locs forming  on my head.  

IV. Out in Mama’s garden, I can smell her. Fresh hibiscus and vanilla. It lingers, even in the dresses I take from her closet, and in the scarves I wrap my head in each night.

V. When I dig my hands into the soil, I feel a soft beating, like a heart. Entranced, my  breathing slows to a steady rhythm. Granny bends down, grabs my wrists real tight, and  says, We’ll get through this together, okay? Before I come to, she releases me and walks  away.

VI. Watching me from the porch in her rocking chair, Granny hums a hymn that carries me as  I work the soil, intentionally placing seeds, saying prayers with my hands to the Earth.

VII. Lord, let it be what it will be. 

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy Raising Mothers, please consider making a one-time or recurring contribution to help us remain ad-free. If even a fraction of subscribers signed up to contribute $1 per month, Raising Mothers could be self-sustaining!

Support Raising Mothers

Filed under: Poetry Archive


Danielle Buckingham is a Black southern writer from Louisville, Mississippi. She is a 2017 Voices of Our Nation (VONA) alum, and has work published or forthcoming in the New Orleans Review, Black Girl Times, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and elsewhere.