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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

Freesia McKee

This Land Will Always Be Here for You

Even if the city falls.


Even if just

in memory.


Even if submerged by polar melt,

even if the city becomes filled,


filled with people who hate you. This land will always

cheer for you because even when you are here,

your soft impression is somewhere else


with your memory, somewhere

in the basement, which must be the oldest

part of any house, though you’ve been in town

long enough to know


there are exceptions

to even the most logical laws.


Last night, a movie of rain,

last night, igniting your batteries,

and you ran toward the old city’s

tribute, longing for recognition


of what this land might mean collectively

even though the officials

with their umbrellas and clipboards

had already decided what to inscribe on the plaque.


Official has never meant accurate, here.

This land doesn’t need a second memory:

the land is its memory.


Too cerebral writing about cities


City under a cloudless baby

City inhaling a smoke sculpture

Some cities gone of fire

Some cities queered until they’re not


This city—like all cities—is

palimpsest and beach

computer screen of a million moving images

rerouted river smoothing submerged histories


Burnt-out absent city

City of cigarette butts hot

glue-gunned to a cardboard core

contoured stacks of discarded filters


City as archeologist

Pillars of right-angled

wooden blocks City as sea glass


Cemetery full of trash

strewn over the deceased

and beloved bereaved


When they visited

to do research

we told them to leave


How macabre to walk home and think

about who died here and when


Teddy bear cellophane-taped to a light pole

City built over burial grounds

City increasing burial grounds


Can’t pretend the city kills everyone

the same way


Freesia McKee is author of the chapbook How Distant the City (Headmistress Press, 2017). Her words have appeared in cream city reviewThe Feminist WirePainted Bride Quarterly, CALYX, GertrudeSo to SpeakNimrod International Journal, Bone Bouquet, Flyway, and the Ms. Magazine Blog. Freesia’s poetry is forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, The Antigonish Review, and The Grabbed Anthology. Her book reviews have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, South Florida Poetry JournalGulf Stream, and The Drunken Odyssey. Freesia was the winner of CutBank Literary Journal’s 2018 Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, chosen by Sarah Vap.

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