I will show you fear in a handful of dust

Emily Baker

The urn tips from the mantle,

or is thrown in anger, and cracks.

Gray ash drifts like snow over

the living room rug. You’re breathing

in Great-aunt Georgina. Oh, dearie me.


A monster made from the dirt

too dry to keep your crops alive

bears down on the midwestern desert

your home has become, roaring

and tearing at the boards of the barn

with claws and teeth of knife-sharp sand.


Crouching in the ruins of the ancient forest,

you bend to scoop up sawdust in your palm.

You let it sift through your fingers, dance away

on the wind. On the edge of the field of stumps

and devastation looms a line of trees, marked

with bleeding crosses of carmine paint.

Your eyes tell you they’re next for the levelers.


I will show you fear in a handful of dust,

because dust is what remains when life

has been pulverized to bits miniscule enough

to be snatched away by an errant breath.


You sigh.

Emily Baker is a student and writer from East Tennessee who is good at baking and less good at keeping plants alive. She specializes in poetry and short fiction, but just loves the art of a good story in any form. She wants to cultivate a lifelong love of learning in herself and others, for all manner of things from history to woodworking to languages. She believes we live in a fascinating world and wants to know and experience it as deeply as possible.