a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
and the debt we owe ourselves
for the losses in our ledger
can’t be paid by credit
even as we add another lien
to our children’s future.
Our souls are left in a little black tray
on red and white diner table cloth
between greasy fry crumbs
and the beef fat
of Southern-style exorbitance.
Thank God the man by the door is armed right?
Apparently, Tennessee needs
his untrained aim to train aim
so we’re kept safe
or maybe just kept. We’re trying,
we tell our children
out the door into the lot
even though it feels we’re just a car
it’s not too late and we’re not alone, but I’m
T-shirt in November and that thumb-width
empty space between the (R) and the checkbox
met so many pens today
that we feel we left our dignity
back on the polling table to be bussed back,
dumped in a sink with bits of crust,
and a bone fragment
whose crack left in our bite
will soon infect.
Andrew Najberg is the author of the forthcoming novels Gollitok (Cactus Moon Press, 2023) and The Mobius Door (Wicked House Publications, 2023), as well as the collection of poems The Goats Have Taken Over the Barracks (Finishing Line Press, 2021), and the chapbook Easy to Lose (Finishing Line Press 2007). His poems have appeared in dozens of journals online and in print, including North American Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, and Good River Review. An AWP Intro award recipient and the 2022 National Poetry Month Brain Mills Press grand prize winner, he received an MFA in poetry from Spalding University and an MA in creative writing from University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Currently, he teaches for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is serving as a senior editor for Symposeum magazine.