Conyer Clayton :: “today I put my hands into dirt, and it was warm” & “I always hope it’s a turkey”

today I put my hands into dirt, and it was warm

what a good day


I always hope it’s a turkey

When I hear footsteps on dry leaves
in the woods by my house, I always hope

it’s a turkey. Did you know 
wild turkeys can fly up to 200 meters?
Their bodies being built for bursts of speed.

We saw one perched high in a birch tree,
the garbage tree, my arborist called it, though

what does it say that that’s the tree I think I’d be —
going too hard and falling over early. I wanted to argue
with him, but their trunks do litter the forest floor. 

But birch is 
Birch is 

sustainably made
ethically sourced
paid a fair wage.

The mushrooms made an Instagram page about 
their repurposed birch homes. 

A turkey once lived here, the caption reads, but now
instead of someone stacking logs to burn, my spores
and I have repopulated it. 

The mushrooms wear flannel, and raise their kids
free-range. They travel on the weekends to the roots

of other trees. Did you know there is a market
for everything? A bottle of the way trees

shimmer movement in light wind.
A turkey in a tree grounds me.
A turkey on the ground lifts. I’d rather a startling gobble

than a man with an Instagram account burning
through his worn jean pockets, starting fires
in my yard, sending smoke across the country, making 

the sun seem a far off thing. Did you know that man took
a photo of the dim, red sun and sold it for millions?
Even though he started the fire? The caption reads

we have to do more, and by more, he means
start more fires, burn more garbage, breed more
turkeys that we designed not to fly.


Conyer Clayton is a writer, musician, and editor living on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe land. She is the author of We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite (Guernica Editions, 2020, Winner of the Ottawa Book Award), But the sun, and the ships, and the fish, and the waves (A Feed Dog Book by Anvil Press, 2022), and many chapbooks. Her poetry, essays, and criticism appear in Room Magazine, filling station, Canthius, Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, The Capilano Review and others.