a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
with less certainty is something
I never prepared to lose
most of my life mangos & limes
arrived bright from Mexico
out of season—rot on counter—
we’re trying not to waste now
everything grown precious
each morning now, I notice
the sky a little different
yesterday & tomorrow’s grey
blind white, rain intermittent
blue last evening, I knelt
beneath our Japanese maple
its ten thousand hands trembled
above me in red blessing,
my fingers pulled at dark soil,
left white roots exposed,
dying in piles, one evening,
one tree’s liquescent body
like august’s flames & my family
needs more water than falls from
summer’s unrelenting dry
earth heaves beneath human desire.
Normal never sustainable—
a complex—lightning strikes
and fire, fire, fire.
Must I stop loving
the word because meaning is
forgotten as fishing net, sunk low, slowly
becoming sea floor? Mean once meant shared by all—
in common. Now we’ve narrowed
ourselves stingy & unkind.
Can I cast a spell with this small net
of words & pull-in a more generous tide? And if I
throw my whole self into the sea of language what of my human children,
each separate world of them, rolling in this globe? What of this one
body that held them, for a time, wrapped in skin
the color of sand?
The waves leave us marks
on the shore, scrawling some message
in a long-ago tongue. I can’t decipher water’s momentary script
though my skin bears the trace of its flow & ebb, rivulets
of memory left behind from the years
I was both sea & shore.
Once upon four times, I filled,
a world of water, an inland sea full of life,
other than myself. My body made common—shared. Self & other
forever thrown into question & tied. Perhaps to love
is to tremble at the unmaking of my self &
choose to be unmade anyway.
Twila Newey received her M.F.A. in Writing and Poetics from Naropa. She was a finalist for the 2019 Coniston Prize at Radar Poetry and won honorable mention in the 2019 JuxtaProse Poetry Contest. Her poems also appear in various journals including Green Mountains Review, Summerset Review, Parentheses Journal, and Ruminate. Twila is a poetry editor for Psaltry & Lyre. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.