Woman and Bucket, Dec. 12

Cortney Ives
Setting the shovel aside
and turning a downward arch, 
she stooped.

Rolled the handle
in the rough, round
curvature of her palm.

Having carried them before,
the weight and sway
of innumerable bucketed loads
passing through her grasp.

compost, dirt, vegetables
cold beer, fresh fish, picnics
vomit, piss, nightsoil

Her knees and back
had bent and straightened
hard and jerking, smooth and easy
for hundreds of years, thousands
many, many sets of hands.

Hardly burdened 
she deftly passed
two sets of doors
to the familiar interior
and the long, continued movement,
the omnipresent task.