a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
as if we can’t have that word,
added, not added,
at least in a way that might
instead we have the Family Dollar
down the street,
the one the addicts hold up weekly,
the one with the particle board,
more window than window,
but the store opens again,
and this time, when I go in
to pick up whatever, usually popcorn,
usually matches, usually 5 lb bags of sugar
we say for the hummingbirds, and we mean it,
most of the anything sugar goes quickly,
but not for the hummingbirds,
for the addicts and their cravings,
when I go in, there’s an older woman
behind the counter, wrinkled mouth,
spindly cigarette fingers counting change,
saying, “Dearie,” to the white folks, “Mijito”
to the skinny awkward young man in front
of me buying cigarettes, red vines, and Doritos,
his hand on the counter, balancing like an old man.
Everyone knows this grandma, she’s related,
maybe a last ditch deterrent to another armed robbery,
unlikely employee compared to the last three
who were big guys who didn’t speak much at all.
Not like the bargains have that kind of value,
like the magician trickster on the street corner
where there’s no way to keep your eye
on the marble in the cups, no way to win.
The value beyond surface tension, veneer, façade,
over European surnames, our medieval history,
the insular nature of lives in one place,
within these borders, skin and land locked.
Michelle Holland lives and writes in Chimayó, New Mexico. Her poetry publications include “Event Horizon,” in The Sound a Raven Makes, Tres Chicas Press, and Chaos Theory, Sin Fronteras Press.