what will the sandbox hole bring us?
children gather to dig.
their soft hands gripping
the necks of plastic shovels.
at the park it is dusk
& the sporadic lamps come on.
moths bring their mandolins
& sing about forgettable May.
spring could not imagine
this thick November.
dew on grass. winter is coming
& some kids wear coats while others
just wear goosebumps like charm bracelets.
no one is a boy or a girl
at this time of day. just workers.
methodical in their motions.
everyone has the same question
in their throats: does the sandbox
have a bottom? if so,
what sleeps down there? what
bones? what books? what secret?
the playground clouds with static.
a television plays behind
each child's eyes. scooping sand.
sand parting. reaching the wet layer.
rich damp sand. squeezing
between their fingers & feeling
ancient. the children are aware
their parents are far away now
with their land of counter tops.
they don't know anything
about digging. the hole
is widening. it's big enough
for one child to crouch inside.
they take turns being consumed
by their crater. even the trees
are jealous of the children's work.
night falls. no one is alive.
skeleton children. ghost children.
all children are ghost children.
what business did we have
with flesh? when was my last
haunting night? when did i last
dig like this. it can always
get deeper. another shovel.
another scoop. they don't give up.
there is no bottom. scraping dirt now.
on into the earth's crust
down towards the hot churning mantel.
shovelfuls of molten red. children laughing.
melting like wax. the hole impossibly clear
moving onward down to the core
where all the children will gaze
into that white of this private star.
diminished to nothing
but glossy stones. what do we know
of digging? the hole stands there.
all holes are mouths. all mouths
lead down to the core.
one child, smooth as can be,
goes to the jungle gym
& slides easily down the twisty slide.
falls down in the mulch.
the children wander home. moths
continue to play until they die.