Heavy Machinery by JP Grasser

The weather was good

for a burial, chilly

enough to make god


seem present, wholly

composed of breath, but not so

cold that the housefly


became memento

mori, no, just a black smudge

across the window


of the truck, a midge

that lit on the weather-strip,

then walked to the edge


of the sky, its striped

eyes seeing in mosaic

as the backhoe piped


black exhaust, the slack

on the pulley-belts stiffened,

the gravel grew slick


with rain, people fanned

out into the granite field

in thin lines to find


their cars, and I felt

by instinct that mammoth sense,

something like snowmelt


sped through the silence

of a slot canyon, I heard

that rough voice gone since


birth, before birth, heard

the earth darken shard by shard,

the broken, shattered


earth, the ground frozen too hard

to hollow by hand.


A Wallace Stegner Fellow, J.P. Grasser is a PhD candidate at the University of Utah, where he edits Quarterly West.