Gabriel Fried
                                                                             Audio Provided by From the Fishouse

The Hole


Beyond the house, on the edge of forest,
there is digging. Incredibly, men work

at it in daylight, as if they started
it or understand its purpose. I was

not there, but I remember the night, moon
rising above a hill, when a sound crept

among other sounds like something wanting
in quietly—and for no known reason.

There was no shovel, and no man’s breathing.
It didn’t dig like man, with a kerchief;

there was no lamp half-full of kerosene
or headlights aimed anxiously at darkness.

Yet man was there, a part of the rumor
no one remembers. A part of him was

buried deep, or in need of burial,
and so he joined in, trusting and aligned

with the first friendly face who spoke a word
or two of his language.  This is how

a hole grows: bigger or smaller, banking
on muscle memory and willingness.

Neighbors lend tools, or pull on garden gloves
themselves, planting spades in heavy earth.

None know what for. Some assume it’s plumbing.
Others simply love the slap a shovel

makes and need no explanation. They know
they’ll dig until the moon again begins

its climb; until they knock against a lid
or pat one down—when something is exposed,

or nothing is.