a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
native kind that knit and furrow roots
into deep moisture and know how to wait
—We couldn’t wait,
paid the man with big machinery to scrape
the cactus on that rise by the river that used to be
a pre-dam sandbar. We don’t know
what used to be here before
the grazing, the growing, the scraping
and the dams.
—Now I know the hidden
thin tissue, darkened with black lichen,
dotted with powdery green mosses, woven with fine
filaments of fungi, algae and bacteria—
crust of living skin, a long time coming
life binding life for more—
We wanted more
grasses and forage for birds and elk
who come through
—Dust blowing. Carbon
gone with the cactus—
Here, tell me
what is wild?
What was fixed
by sheathe and sheets and threads,
made from dust and air and little
water—captured, held, alive—
we tried to fix—
Crypto meaning hidden,
gamic meaning marriage. We wanted
what we wanted.
Anne Haven McDonnell lives in Santa Fe, NM where the high desert meets the southern-most Rocky Mountains, the Sangre de Cristo range. She teaches as associate professor in English and Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her poetry has been published in Orion Magazine, The Georgia Review, Narrative Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Her poems won the fifth annual Terrain.org poetry prize, second place in Narrative Magazine’s 12th Annual Poetry Contest, and second place for the Gingko international ecopoetry prize. Her poem also received a special mention in the 2021 Pushcart Anthology. Her chapbook Living with Wolves was published with Split Rock Press in fall 2020, and her full-length collection Breath on a Coal won the Halycon Poetry Prize and will be published in fall 2022. Anne Haven holds an MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage and has been a writer-in-residence at the Andrews Forest Writers’ Residency and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. She helps edit poetry for the journal Terrain.org.