Saturday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are erase, meadow and trace. Yeah, I'm a little late.

Burial
He closes his eyes and listens.
The rush of a summer’s breeze blows through field grass, tall and lush and green, and makes a sizzling noise, which is soothing.
He’s climbed a hill that overlooks a meadow.
He’s dug three graves.
His hands are tacky with dirt and the fluid from blisters that have torn and oozed while he's worked to open up the prairie. He squints at his damaged palms, smiles at the pain. Doing a good job should be tiring, maybe a little painful, he thinks. His muscles ache and the last of the sweat is drying salt rings in his shirt.
The mounds are laid out in order, 3 feet apart, perfectly symmetrical, perfectly dug. He’s used a square-head shovel to slice layers of thick sod, which he's carefully peeled back and saves.
He’s excavated down 4 feet, thinking a shallow grave just wouldn’t do. Best to bury things deep and be safe.
Grime coats his forearms and his smell has gone to musk. His hair sticks to his forehead.
His trousers will have to be tossed, as well as his polo shirt, which has developed a tear at the shoulder. He teases the white flesh exposed there with a grime-loaded fingernail.
And turns his attention back to the mounds.
He’s refilled the holes with dark, rich earth, tamped things down with the heels of his shoes. He’s repositioned the sod exactly as it was.
The graves are unmarked. There’s no need for remembrance.
No bone, no sinew have been deposited here to decay.
Just memories. Things he’d like erased.
Time and the elements will wipe away any trace that he’s stood here on this sunny afternoon, working feverishly until dusk approaches, creating these three holes, then un-creating them.
He’s hoping time does the same for him.
He secretly prays these graves bring solace.

15 comments:

J.C. said...

I must be honest, this made me cry. The recognition I feel inside for some of what you wrote about...well, it touched a nerve, it is so real to me.

I can't also help but feel it is deeply personal for you too.

As usual Tom, you take my breath away.

Laura Eno said...

Nice imagery here. The story leaves me wondering what pains in his life were so bad that shallow graves weren't enough...

quin browne said...

I hope he buried my things, too.

Karen from Mentor said...

I was just talking about this very subject this morning with a friend. Loved this. Sometimes you need to bury that old stuff to move on. Hope he gets his wish and his pain heals with the sod.
Great pacing, great imagery amazingly well done altogether.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I think we all have feelings and memories we'd like buried at least six feet under, if not more. Nice work!

Dee Martin said...

putting the sod back, just the way he found it. Such care. Visceral. I would hope for solace that allows memories to remain without the pain.

Pamila Payne said...

I'm so used to reading horror that the emotional context of this piece caught me completely by surprise. Very somber and personal, so much unsaid, but the deep feeling is there between the lines.

Tomara Armstrong said...

Hauntingly beautiful. The wheels in my brain are spinning... filling in the gaps.

Great post!
~2

Julie Jordan Scott said...

Three words call out:

deep, safe and attention.

I know they are not the original three words, but they are the ones which spoke to me from someplace within the peace itself that is silent yet also louder than cymbals.

Well worth the wait, several times over.

Read my three word wednesday from this week, here.

Tumblewords: said...

Raw and honest pain - one would hope that burying helps! Nice write!

Tony Noland said...

Great story. I hope that the symbolic burials can bring closure and peace.

one more believer said...

as always yr talent as a writer shines thru in this post making it all the more real to us as readers who can surely identify with loss and burial.......it is very good to write from the deep wells of the heart....... i imagine a bit cathartic too... the best to you in the coming days... may the shadows smile as they follow you along...

Laurita said...

Really liked this. The detail about the graves needing to be deep made the story. Really well done.

Mark Kerstetter said...

I really like the immediacy and almost desperate feeling of this, with great descriptions like "He teases the white flesh exposed there with a grime-loaded fingernail."

Jane Doe said...

This is an excellent story. I actually had to leave when I was halfway through it and couldn't wait to get back home to finish it. It is simply wonderful, so vivid and rich. Another great piece.