My Mother Took Me To A Place To Dig

 

by Alicia L. Gleason

 

As a girl I often dreamt I was digging a hole. It wasn’t the type of hole meant to bury roses for the winter, or to mine worms after a heavy rain. It was a hole wide and deep enough for me to stand in. It was a hole dug for me to be alone. As I dug, my muscles felt supple and I saw the soil was richly layered: shadows atop agates atop red soil atop grey. The air swirled coolly around me, a summer heat descending into the pit. This place was quieter than sleep. I dug easily until I hit a patch of hard ground. I cut the tip of my shovel into the earth and water simmered from the incision. The wound opened quickly, the pressure forcing the water into a high arch, a boiling geyser. As I stood beneath it, feverish, sweating, I thought: this hole will fill, and I will drown.

 

Alicia L. Gleason is a graduate of George Mason University’s MFA program, where she studied fiction. Her work is forthcoming in Cleaver Magazine. Alicia teaches first year writing at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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