THE ARCHAEOLOGIST IN CHILDHOOD
by Anastasia Stelse

I once found a cracked Mickey spoon, not the whole thing, just
the dirt-caked plastic handle where the metal once attached.

That was the beginning of digging. Grade school curiosity pockmarked
the backyard; a desire to find something—anything—of life here before.

Instead I excavated the spoon from the crabgrass that was once our garden.
My short history cycled back—the matching fork still

in the kitchen drawer even though we three kids
were too old for it, even back then. It’s still there now,

and I am hundreds of miles gone, but I know back home, untouched,
in a shoebox in my room lays the spoon, flecked with dirt, beside a chunk

of beaver-bit wood, a gnawed on T-bone, the scavenged body of a bird,
and a hermit crab—claws clenched in ocean longing—artifacts

of lives stumbled across, adopted—the dead
preserved the only way I knew then.

 

 


 


Anastasia Stelse is a native of southeastern Wisconsin, the assistant editor for The Intentional, and a graduate from the MFA program at American University. She is currently pursuing her PhD at USM. Her work has appeared in (parenthetical), Meniscus, and NewMyths, among others.