• Gabriela Hamm

Compost Turning by A.J.Britz

The poem represents a simple way to contribute to the health of the planet but more importantly, anyone, anywhere, can do it and take pride in the accomplishment. The humor in the poem brings it into everyday life and suggests anyone can be a hero.


Fork the stinking mound and twist

til your shoulder socket cries,

churning a week’s dinner scraps

and cold coffee grounds, the bangs

of your least favorite child.

Soggy, aromatic hump

in the garden, shot through with

fish bones and slimy egg shells

the maggots and the earthworms’

invisible industry.

Cocksure squirrels sit and watch

your toil from the garage roof,

kids watch from bedrooms windows,

their dolls too, a neighborhood

teeming with Soviet spies.

Dark and briny Santa’s sack,

torn open like a stomach,

its layers raked back together,

its gush of odors and gases

guaranteed to get you high.

Your energy expended

in broken arcs, shoulder blades

and wrists, the tennis elbow

of the true clay and grass man

working away at his heap.

Step away now, the job’s done,

the shuffled slop, a wreckage

of old chicken bones, moldy

cabbage and toenail clippings

in the corner of the yard.

Go inside and kiss your wife,

pat the dog and your children,

send the neighbor boy packin’,

dredger of organic waste

whose hips are a gift from heaven.


A.J. Britz

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