a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
to warm our hands, a rugged edge of teeth
exposed between foggy slips of breath.
All winter our joints ache
and our bodies think of leaving
in ways only ancestors could understand.
Without a trace of irony or blush of shame,
we’ll pull the pickup over, watch the foothills
turn russet at sunset, talk to clouds
through February, to the earth come spring,
sit front and center to a weave of nest
set to hatch its crooners, tears in our eyes,
press hellbent into the great why of summer.
All that matters is the heat, the harvests,
prayers for rain—little we or the plants can do
but endure. When the mulberries cease
their fruiting and maples go kamikaze red,
we plow down the cornfields, gardens, too,
don our flannel, ponder our shrinking
frames, bones calcifying, same way
a crusted plow rusts itself back to nature.
Kari Gunter-Seymour is a ninth generation Appalachian and Poet Laureate of Ohio. Her poetry collections include Alone in the House of My Heart (Ohio University Swallow Press, 2022) and A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila Na Gig Editions, 2020), winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award. Her work has been featured on Verse Daily, World Literature Today, the New York Times and Poem-a-Day.