a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
awareness of a friend not to come down his steps, like the channeling of rain off his roof, my friend tomorrow not to come down his steps, the other side of this wall I face, not to pick up his headlines as if they were as inevitable as the width of our street, not to read of this new war’s similarity to the one we submitted to call “ours,” and not to share concern for our children’s children’s further
wars, my own steps waiting, for my own trudge toward being minimally in touch with more than I can say or think—grudgingly content to hold back—like a colt resisting enslavement or even an old horse flogged to a too hard task—and submit to someone’s evasions, understandably innocent inadequacies or, even, mendacities—someone’s willingness to risk telling a lie.
So here I am again, my wife, as comforting and unknown as an island, distant but undeniably there, confirming my boat my naked heel caulks and maybe will till I get ashore—my wife beyond rain surging into waves—my wife interrupting and resuming her breathing suggesting all any living human can, our, and our children’s children’s harmony with the rain.
Ralph Salisbury (1926-2017), a disciplined and prolific author whose work reflects his mixed ancestry (Cherokee, Shawnee, English, Irish), said that his work was “offered to the spirit of human goodness, which unites all people in the struggle against evil, a struggle to prevail against global extinction.” With individual poems appearing in Poetry, The New Yorker, Northwest Review, and other journals, he was the author of eleven collections of poetry, including Rainbows of Stone (2000) and Like the Sun in Storm (2012), both finalists for the Oregon Book Award, and three books of short fiction. His memoir, So Far, So Good, received the River Teeth Award for Literary Non-Fiction (2012) and was published by University of Nebraska Press. In 2015, he was honored with the C.E.S. Wood Distinguished Writer Award, presented annually to an Oregon author in recognition of an enduring, substantial literary career.