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  • Jørn Earl Otte

"Dirt" -- Poem #3, National Poetry Month



Dirt How much of the dirt where your father was born comes into your mother and is part of you? When you are naked and smacked into your first breath of air, do you bring with you the grass your father kicked a fodbold on? Do you bring your father’s childhood bedroom from the Old Country, the plank of wood pulled up in the corner where he hid his cigarettes? The spicy kitchen smells of Danish meatballs of pork and pepper and veal and salt? The sweet raspberry and milk and red currant and licorice røgrød med fløde? Ice cold øl? Do you bring the musty smell of his mother’s closet, filled with woolen sweaters hand-sewn before the war? Do you bring his blood-stained boxing gloves? His first rusty razor? His first language? The death of his father?


How much of the dirt where your father was born


lingers like cigarette smoke in your brain?


How much do you even want it there?

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