a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
She dislikes vegetation.
Her backyard, coated with orange pebbles,
Shimmers with an icy pool.
Who could resent a leafy mesquite’s shade?
But she says
The evil little yellow flowers
Litter the yard, clog the pool drain
The roots push up the earth,
Split the patio brick
Unsettle her as if
In the throes of an earthquake.
The return of the repressed (I say)
The mesquite doing the dirty work
Of human psyches everywhere, metaphorically
Until we chop it down.
What is a metaphor
If not a way of disappearing
To see and unsee
The porch light, the bird out by the fence
The book’s turning pages?
(If not a way of thwarting
The long oblivious darkness
Our words fall into?)
Even my busy, glorious
Mesquite, reviled and loved
Will eventually vanish, I assure her.
One day the earth will bear an empty shine
And spin a little more lopsidedly
Without the trees and us.
Karen Brennan is the author of seven books, the most recent of which is a hybrid short fiction collection, Monsters. Her poetry, nonfiction and fiction have been included in anthologies from Norton, Penguin, Graywolf, Michigan, Georgia and others. A visual artist as well as a writer, she is currently at work on a compendium of image-word micro-memoirs, Television. Professor Emerita at the University of Utah, she is on the faculty of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.