a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
In the backyard the apple tree had a dignity the child never thought twice about I mean why would she question what was always a given? It was tall – and spreading – shaded the whole yard, its fruit sweet and freely she ate and freely climbed. From the highest bough she could reach the garage roof in one direction and in the other her sister’s upstairs nursery. If she stretched she might touch the window’s glass like God or fall like Lucifer. Years later the girl biked with her sister to an orchard to pick apples as it happened for the last time they felt at ease in their bodies untouched by power. Soaring past waving fields, they glowed in the lucent fall. Small were the clouds the golden cumulus that day but firm their place in the wider sky.
Like the cumulus the small woman however touched as a girl by power affirmed herself before a wide congress of stares in the name of truth though accused of accusing one of the Elect, himself when before the tribunal sneering in outrage I’m sure sincerely after all no other woman had dared name him but she from his own class and race and save for gender the privilege he’d been born into which is to say for her a more provisional version. She’d harmed him he said for good. I liked beer I still like beer he repeated to make a point he seemed to think clear. The woman accused of accusing spoke softly in a high voice because she was she said afraid to speak up, but her words made evident the strength no one had bent, the dignity none could tar. The woman had in essence picked the apple the man then asserted for himself. His alone to eat. Thereafter would he abide himself as an apple abides the mouth. As the core the teeth.
Cynthia Hogue has published fourteen books, including nine poetry collections, most recently Revenance (2014) and In June the Labyrinth (2017), both with Red Hen Press. Her co-translation, from the French of Nathalie Quintane, is Joan Darc (La Presse, 2017). Among her honors are a Fulbright and two NEA Fellowships. Hogue is Emerita Professor of English at Arizona State University.