Breaking Ground

by Tianna Grosch

Flower buds poke gentle heads above ground to seek the sun’s stretching fingers. She throws her own fingers high above her head, reaching as far as she can until her shoulders pop and crack. Throwing her head back, her hair falls over her back like a cascading waterfall, rippling.

She breathes fresh air smelling of final frost and sets to work breaking ground, the teeth of her shovel biting deep into the dirt. She digs until her palms blister against the wooden handle, until they are scraped and stinging.

The hole is as big around as a fire pit, perfect for roasting marshmallows or summoning demons. She empties a box of kindling into the pit. She rummages inside another box until her fingers touch something soft. A stuffed animal, big beady eyes and stitched fake fur gazing up at her.

She throws it in the hole and pulls out a box of matches. She strikes one match, the smell of sulfur lingering in the air as she tosses the little flame into the pile and watches the fire expand, hungrily devouring its fuel.

The box contains old love letters – scraps of paper confessing undying devotions. It contains dried roses, hung upon a wall and forgotten. The box contains secrets and things better forgotten. A strip of cloth, a bit of lace. A leather-bound journal with its spine cracked and cover faded.

All of it belongs to the fire. Its flames lick and smile. She watches it burn and her lips curl. Tendrils of smoke caress her, tracing across her hips, playing with strands of hair, circling her eyes. She becomes clean, unburdened by what once held her down.

The fire crackles until it has finished its feast.

She will return under the cover of darkness. She will take off her shoes and walk through the pit, to feel what her past secrets have become. In the dead of night, a chorus of springtime frogs and crickets will serenade her as she dances in the ashes.


Tianna Grosch lives in the woodlands of PA, works as Assistant Editor at Times Publishing Newspapers in Bucks County, and received her MFA at Arcadia University this past May. Her work has previously appeared in New Pop Lit, The Odyssey and Loco Mag, and is forthcoming in Ellipsis Zine and Paragon Journal. Follow her on Twitter: @tiannag92

One thought on “Breaking Ground

  1. The last paragraph really spoke to me. There is such a buildup. From the way she lazily stretches her shoulders, to the vigorous way she digs the pit, to the satisfaction she feels at watching the fire eat away at her former treasures, and finally, her relief and the way she revels in the ashes. Her memories no longer having the power to hurt her. Beautiful piece, I loved it.

    Like

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