a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
The wind howls tonight
As if it invented loneliness
As if the full moon didn’t sail alone
In an empty sky
As if the neighbor’s wind chime
Wasn’t stuck on a single note
As if all these houses weren’t full
Of dark windows and rooms
Where people are dreaming
Each on their own side of the bed.
I planted a cherry tree
Dug a hole in the yard and cursed
Every rock the shovel hit
I would reach into the hole
To pull it out
Digging my fingers
Into the dirt underneath it
Half hoping it wasn’t a rock
This time maybe, but a treasure
And I had found the spot
Someone always meant to come back to
Like the stories we read as children
We spent our childhood following maps
Marking off careful paces
Looking for landmarks.
She wanted no grave, no stone or marker,
Nothing to come back to and no way to get lost
“Just give my body to science and
Let me help someone else,” she said.
So now she is gone
And now she is everywhere,
And like those pirates in the moonlight
We take only what we can carry
Into the night and bury the rest
Like a cherry tree just planted
Casting its leafy shadow on the grass
Like it’s always been here.
Charles Oberkehr is a Lutheran pastor (ELCA), counselor, and award-winning poet (Beauty for Ashes Poetry Prize) living in New Holland, Pennsylvania. His latest collection of poetry, “How Monsters Get Under the Bed” is available now from Amazon.