The day I helped Daddy shovel dirt

is the first I remember.


I was a big girl, two, big enough to help

in my white shirt with scalloped edges, yellow pants.

Daddy didn’t wear a shirt, just brown work shorts.

It was hot and he was red

like the wheelbarrow we loaded with dirt.

Our yard was mostly rock but we filled that wheelbarrow

full. A yardwork miracle.


My wheelbarrow. The one Daddy would push me in.

We zoomed through the grass and he pretended

to tip me over and I squealed

like a new pig.
But that day I was not in my wheelbarrow. Dirt was.

He used the big shovel. I used my five fat fingers

and helped, one handful at a time.


Mom used our carefully gathered dirt

to plant impatiens.

They never did last, but every year they bloomed.