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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section One Earth

Janet Smith

Artemis Fishing

(For my sister, Vicki)
She’s of the river valleys, Chehalis
and Tucannon. Her feet planted deep
in dark earth, she knows the meat and bones
of life’s compost. Off the riverbank,
from the river rock, she casts her line long
and again to break without sound
the surface of shadowed pockets. Water,
still moving, is slowed by debris. Her eye
measures the slant of the sun, then joins
the still ones, to wait.
She’s learned patience by the hour
for years in quiet air. She’s learned to sense
the subtle tug of life seeking life,
where a lure can be more powerful
than the ancient call to return. Sometimes,
the taking of her thigh-high waders
up the river bank and home without
the rainbow-scaled and fin-footed hanging
by her side, is what she calls good.
Janet McLain Smith is a published poet and longtime psychotherapist and educator with a love of Jungian archetypes, world cultures/mythologies and a fascination with patterns that interweave through relationships and far-reaching places. She is founder and director of The Mother House Fund (, a nonprofit supporting local and global efforts that demonstrate acts of compassion and life-changing outcomes for the earth, children and their families.





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