Before I left I scratched and scuffed
my hands on clay and sand and stone.
Rubbed living soil into my lifeline.
Ground grains into the unique lines
of finger prints and knuckle joints.
The soil and soul that holds it all.
The grass that grows the milled corn,
the suns heat and the blessed rain.
I rubbed it deep below my hairline and on my brow.
This living soil that sustained my line.
The history deep beneath my finger nails
in microscopic chips and grains.
Bleeding down through generations beyond count
of men who marched before the horse and plough.
I washed my face with it and bathe it in my tears.
Breathe in the years of living and dying there.
I felt its weight and judged it heft.
I still found it wanting and so I left.