Gravedigging—Ieva Dapkevicius

In the brackish light,
pale mushrooms crowning
from the dirt like molars in a row:

I whisper a rabbit’s prayer
and draw the black fur of my shadow
closer to my neck.
When my lips part, they crack as tree bark,
and from them, an inky sap
trickles down, marks my skin.

God of stains,
abandon me now.

The unmarked cot hollowed out
amid these roots: mine or yours,
or am I only a living ghost
of you?

Bloodless hands,
bruise-mottled and blue;
a tremor in my voice betrays me.
The god listens, does not speak.
Omnivorous beast,
the earth, too, has its teeth
to swallow with.

Oakmoss, heart-rot,
blackthorn smoke and
bitter ash—
I know it all too well,
how the hosts of the dead bloom
as inkcaps fed on petrichor
after a dry spell.

Ieva Dapkevicius is a poet and scientist. Her first publication was at the age of nine, in the form of a short fairy tale. Her poetry has been published in Diet Milk, Zero Readers, The Madrigal, and other journals and anthologies. In 2021 she founded the Orangery Literary Society, an online community for up-and-coming writers. She currently lives on a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic.

photo by Jason D (via unsplash)