In her time at Smith, Georgia Pearle represented the college in the Glascock Competition at Mount Holyoke as well as the Five College Poetry Festival. She is currently pursuing a MFA in Poetry from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She hopes to make herself useful.
The Scent of What Becomes Soil
This is where Dad and I took the canoe out,
pushed off the cross-ties salvaged
from the railroad, the morning fog cleared
with day’s new sun. Each knot of floating hinted
at alligators in the water—was that snout, or bark?
Sometimes we saw moccasins curving black
through floating pine needles. Sometimes we swam
in this water—earth, decay, years of dropped leaves
sending up the scent of what becomes soil.
The Creek our first family home, a trailer,
corrugated metal box the color of nicotine stains,
this house where it began, me six years old,
him, a grown man, in the shower, pressed
against my undeveloped body under the sulfur stink
of our water, pumped deep from the well.
When I return to the ash and charred frames
of this past, the yellowhammers have nestled
into what’s left of roof eaves, their calls pitched
against the silence, ghost of him in this land,
his remnants in me like the last twitch of nerves
in the headless rattlesnake, holding fast.