I Have Loved Men

Nancy Dew Taylor Click to

nancyNancy Dew Taylor’s collection Taking Flight was published in 2015 by Ninety-Six Press.  In 2008 Emrys Press published her chapbook Stepping on Air.  Her poems have appeared in a variety opf journals and anthologies; she won the 2011 Linda Flowers Award from the North Carolina Humanities Council and the 2015 Porter Fleming Literary Award for poetry.  A native of eastern South Carolina, she now lives in Greenville, S. C.


I have loved men who love dirt,
who stump the hand-plow deep in earth,
tilt and twist it, testing whether this year’s toil
will break their backs or open wet and loose,

men who lift gift bags of baby okra,
corn for stripping and nibbling,
men shining with sweat, dirt clinging
to shoes, to shorts I yearn to remove,

men who thrust their hands in soil,
finger the hole, fill and tamp it,
men whose minds envision a bed,
purple and yellow, crocus, iris,

bashful men, who come exposing
their failing hearts, red tulips sunk
in mossed earthen pots laced
in maroon and green wild calla leaves,

men whose cars stay stuffed
with clumps of mud and mulch,
who prune with knives and clippers.
Men who angle against time:

two lie boxed
inside the dirt they worked,
a third one slants.  I, too, lean,
edging toward earth.


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