a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
I’m washing down a sandwich with jug wine,
walking through the trashy lot, luxuriant light
spilling on hot azaleas and the grimy
ranch-style house across the road, old-timey
rural acres crumbling around families
God loves. My mother came here every
afternoon to the edge of her mother’s bed
holding the part of coldness she had kept,
handed on by women, sacred and alone,
wrapped in a dishcloth like a cottage stone.
Close to mountains with that faraway feel.
I remember being at the top, for Reidsville’s
football game or afterwards at Stokey’s Pizza,
the town crowding in from the small main street.
The shopfront windows steamed rapturous
and warm and I almost believed it captured
all of me, that one day I’d be satisfied. No,
everywhere I carried the stone of going
away, and people saw it, stayed clear.
I carried the stone all the way here.
Leslie Williams is a North Carolina native who lives in the Boston area. Her first poetry collection, Success of the Seed Plants, won the Bellday Prize and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her honors include Individual Artist Fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Robert Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America. Leslie’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Slate, Salmagundi, Image, Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Shenandoah, and many other magazines. Her new blog can be found at findingtheriver.com.