Why Excavations

I often look like I'm mad, or sad, or depressed.

Most of the time, I'm actually just thinking.

The longer I walk with Jesus, the deeper in my heart He excavates,
revealing the treasures of darkness and revealing the riches stored in secret places.


I saw a little girl in the leaves today.
The oranges and reds crunched around her
as she splashed about in the pile.
Her pink hooded jacket looked warm,
but I was cold as I envied her joy,
wondered how she got there,
wondered why she was trapped in the leaves.

Maybe it’s a childhood thing, this
need to be buried.

Whether it’s warm sand at the beach,
or a blanket fort in the living room,
or the huge pile of dead leaves by the driveway,
most children seem to like being buried.
It’s comfortable for them.

As a child, I never liked to be buried.
I made sure my head was high and
my feet always touched the bottom.
I slept without covers so I could breathe.

As an adult, I don’t like to feel trapped.
Sometimes my husband hugs me
and it buries me alive.

“They shut me up in Prose--
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet. . .”

My mother is claustrophobic.
I wonder where they used to shut her up,
what kind of things she was trapped in
when she was a little girl.

They told her she was smart.
They told her she was a big girl.

They told me I was well-behaved.
They told me I was gifted.

Dead leaves and beach sand.
Blanket forts and closets.
They shut me up in Prose--
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet--
Because they liked me “still”

--italicized text from poem #613, Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson,
  ed. By Thomas H. Johnson, Little Brown and Company, publisher 

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