Paula Kaufman


Cutting Turf

For organizers

In olden days, cutting turf meant
gathering peat.
Your cutting turf is
where roots unfurl,
you funnel conversation
up through green.
Plumb depths
with marching feet, legislation,
megaphone, sign.
Instead of Irish sleán blade, your tool:
a voter registration form.
Your parent’s backs arched to propel
trains and planes,
you advocate for worker’s rights,
union organizing,
walking streets
and knocking on doors,
fist firm.
You walk speedily and purposefully,
knowingly, the way
bog becomes itself
1 millimeter per year,
fluidly and uninterrupted
by cold spell, the empty hand,
the dry summer, the organizer
keeps moving.


Paula Kaufman is from West Virginia and now lives in Washington D.C. Her work can be found in West Trade Review, Gyroscope, Snapdragon and other publications. Her independently published chapbook, Asking the Stars Advice, was published in 2018.

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