Compost and Composting

Dropping down a chipmunk hole,
I learn about earth science
from the bottom up. You love
my stories of root life and grubs,
my maps of mole and groundhog
runways, my soil analyses,
my new intimacy with ants.
Returning from the darkest of dark,
dripping with nutrients, thrilled
with a renewed sense of depth,
committed to the under-life,
I lurk below your threshold.

Composted to slip down that hole,
my DNA has forgotten me.
The phosphorous of my bones
radiates the summer dusk
with fossil ambitions shining.
But I can’t fully surrender
although I’ve given up my daily
glass of bourbon, my complete
set of Henry James. All I’ve kept
is my diploma from Harvard,
framed to impress my parents,
who have wilted in its shade.


William Doreski teaches writing and literature at Keene State College in New Hampshire.  His work has appeared in various journals and collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013). More of his writing can be found at