a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Occasionally which seems preferable to that…” The Elements of Style
The cigarettes that once touched their lips lie smoldering beside the slough.
The cigarettes, which once were whole as children, lay crushed into the mud beside the slough.
The blankets that lay heaped beneath the bridge covered them head to toe.
The blankets, which once lay folded upon a quiet shelf, trembled in the scolding wind.
The dog that nosed the blankets as it passed wasn’t allowed to linger.
The dog, which pulled back on its leash to linger, smelled something curious, so curious.
The people who walked the dog tried offering privacy to the blankets.
The people who walked the dog thought privacy a kindness to the blankets, which trembled in the testifying wind.
The storm that took the town by surprise had everyone fooled.
The storm, which shook the town by the throat, snapped trees in its gnashing teeth.
The storm that raised the water in the slough howled like Gabriel.
The storm, which howled like an angel on fire, raised the water, aroused the water in the drunken slough.
The sweatshirt that once lay crumpled in the weeds was pulled in and sucked by the dirty lips of the slough.
The sweatshirt, red and torn, which has known the shape of woman, swirled a scarlet torch song upon the wreck of slough.
The people who had seen the sweatshirt for weeks were glad of its riddance.
The people, whom the shirt had seen from its bed in the crumpled weeds, wondered where all the debris had gone from beside the slough, beneath the bridge.
The song that rose from the wrack held a rose for the morning air.
The song, rose and risen, which hovered in the air like smoke, ushered the greeting dog away, away.
Jenny Root’s poems have appeared in many literary journals including basalt, Crab Creek Review, Cloudbank, Four Ties Lit Review, Common Ground Review, CIRQUE, New Southerner, Panoply and Windfall, and anthologized in New Poets of the American West and Magnolia: A Journal of Women’s Socially Engaged Literature. Her full-length collection of poems, The Company of Sharks, was published in 2013. She has twice been a fellow at PLAYA Artist & Writers Residency in southern Oregon. With a background in publishing, bookselling, and organizing events for writers, she currently hosts the Springfield Poetry Series in Springfield, Oregon. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, and works as an editor and event planner for an educational nonprofit in the field of criminal justice.