Now I Know Dust

Length: 2 minute read

This poem stemmed from a writing prompt that asked how has the place you are in changed you? Having recently cleared up after a dust storm in Doha, my first response was now I know dust. A version of this poem was published in Grand Little Things in July 2023.

Now I Know Dust

S.G. Parker

Once, I knew dusting and pink feather dusters,

wiping a cloth over black walnut wood,

scouring the scum from a squealing sink faucet,

and sucking the crumbs from a cheap rag-rug.

I knew shovelling the filth from next-door’s tabby,

spooning brown slime from a leaf-clogged drain,

scraping white mildew from a faded heirloom,

and scrubbing green mould from a cracked windowpane.

I had dug in the earth and bagged up mud,

knew my loam from my silt and my silt from my sand.

I’d sieved the ripe soil from ancient latrines,

and trowelled the ground until dirt looked clean.

I thought I knew every type of deposit.

I'd washed my hands of things best left unsaid

Yet the dust that I knew was merely a dusting,

a fine film left by life's hard tread.

But now, I know dust, its force, and its burden,

its constant intrusion in all that I do,

its presence eternal and source uncertain.

Now, I know dust. Yes, now, I know dust.

28 May, 2023