The Dig


a place without rain

where whiteness stretches its long cracked fingers

above an ancient cave,

ivory rocks and ochre pebbles

the earth jewels that adorn.

Green veins on my hand spread,

startling like a dozen River Jordans,

while behind dark sunglasses

images move listless smoke

from the fires of wanderers.

Their tired horses have braided manes

and eyes darker than shadows.

I blink, and beckoning circles,

laughing voices that charm and cajole

disappear like silver earrings in pale sand.

Sweat drips on cool dirt

by pail, shovel and pick,

I dip my hand into fragments of clay and bone.

Sandra Dreis

Israel,  July 2016


I envy you,
unselfconscious earth dweller 
free to wink at root vegetables
with those mysterious fertile eyes
the Leonardo DiCaprio of food
no introduction needed
whether wrapped in foil 
or a wrinkled paper bag.

now that I have met you
lolling in giant clods of earth
or modestly half-hidden
from your curvy waist down 
gowned in gravel
I like your presentation.

I get you
the way you stick your face right up into mine
as I glisten in the Israeli sun
not caring in the least how many eyes 
or blisters or bruises or sagging skin
you model.

more than others I have carried in my pail
you are ugly and grotesque and beautiful
with all that you are
and all you are not
come along with me
and feed the hungry people.

I dare you
pulled from dirt
so round and so not-round
plain yet ornamented
with fingers and toe and ears
with nodes and knots and silly noses...
be great
come feed the world.

Sandy Dreis
July 2016
(inspired by the vision of Rabbi Mark Cohen and Leket Israel)