Good Ground

Good Ground

by Jessica Doble

My tasks each year

goddess of spring

The ground of the bloodiest battles


Recovery needs coaxing

The white and purple wildflowers

Thistles that grow five feet

The buried acorns to seedlings

I place my palm on ground

Crackling dead grass

The thawing ground

Seeped blood of men

Last two seasons,

I find embittered cold from Father-Zeus

Tastes of chalk on the back of my throat

I dirty my thigh with brown decay

Place remembers relives

The humans reenact

The gods remember

The shades entombed

The opening of the ground

Ritual and battlement park

Happens at sunrise

We waken

I raise my arms

Mimic the sun’s path

Mother behind me

These tasks alone we perform in alignment

Dryads emerge from shadowed trunks

The Auloniades from their grounded bedchambers

The scarred Hamadryads, life tree-tied

These are the nymphs of the land—eyes of knotted bones

We call upon mother earth

Gaia of us—we are you

To heal from the frozen season

and deaths of thousands

We call upon Gaia

for fertility and victory

in the compassed ground

ridged to little and round topped hills-beat our breasts

We call upon the hearts

of pilgrims, the salt tears

the rooted connection

and the care of history

We wrest life

from the dead

We scream Ouranos

sky holds life giving light Aether

We scream Gaia

Earth food giving life

We scream Poseidon

in thirst we cannot be quenched

It pulls more from me

My domain and power more violent

The spring volatile

from thousands of years

I grasp, it positioned upon the miled ground

Retread for hundreds of years

I wield power and body to dirt

Delicate fingers alight the veins of memory, desire, death, and hunger

We build a great bonfire

Light to light of the rising sun

We greet Dawn

Soak our faces in her caress

The birth of spring

In Gettysburg

Mother kisses my parched forehead

Her wheat hair entangling mine

Dryads dance flickering and strengthening

In the coming day

Naked limbs and torsos their trees

The waters from beneath them

Stealing the air

Pressing the sunlight between

Their hands their thighs

Each blink of the eye

The earth my back

Light piercing lids

Shrunk husk

I’m unmoving

Soon the humans will come, marvel at Gettysburg

Cry from bent backs

We used to pound our breasts in mourning

Instead these humans take pictures

Listen to Gettysburg’s storytellers

They don’t remember the gods

Clasp hands between them or in front of their chests

Sometimes I star my body and wait for them

To walk the grassed plains

Reverberating footsteps echo

Hades picks up my body

Grasping hands behind knees and back

To Plum Run to be soothed by the Naiads

He wades to the deepest part of the river

And the Naiads press me

Cool water seeping to tissue

A tide upon bone

Goddess of spring


Featured in our October 2021 issue, "Ritual"