a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
to the silver maple
arms across its bark body
cheek against grizzled wood.
When you drink
from the water faucet
lined up after recess
your friend’s lips
pursed in glory,
clear stream bubbles
between flesh and chrome
brown hair, small limbs.
When you dance
at a summer festival
the band cues a holy drum roll
a sax bellows blue grass blankets
winter toes relish spring,
green blades tickle ankles.
When you breathe
the scent of cinnamon
candy your papa bought
to cover tobacco breath, coffee
the scent of wet wool warms the spine.
When you let the mother of four go ahead
take back the cart for a stranger,
when you pick up park litter the critters
left behind, stretch for the high pieces
caught in evergreen boughs.
When you brake for a squirrel,
release the mother raccoon with her babies
in a forest glen outside the city
where creeks run and rivers pour fish
where oak roots mingle spread gossip
beneath our hiking boots, our footprints.
Angie Trudell Vasquez is a second- and third-generation Mexican-American writer, editor, publisher, and the current poet laureate of Madison, Wisconsin (2020–2024). She holds an MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Finishing Line Press published her collections, In Light, Always Light, in May 2019, and My People Redux, in January 2022. In 2021, she attended the Macondo Writers Workshop started by Sandra Cisneros, and became a fellow, also known as a Macondista. Her poems have appeared most recently in the Yellow Medicine Review, Sheltering with Poems, In Other Words, Hope is the Thing, and can be found online on Poem-A-Day, The Poetry Foundation’s website, and the South Florida Poetry Journal among other places. In 2020 she published and co-edited a poetry anthology of Wisconsin poets, Through This Door, with then current poet laureate of Wisconsin, Margaret Rozga, through her press Art Night Books.