a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
What will I be doing when it comes?
I want to be with you – still,
though you may not be here.
I thought about this last night when stirring
mushrooms into olive oil warming in a cast iron pan,
not exactly close to nature,
though connected, in their slicing
The last time we saw them in the wild
was the day we drove the perimeter
of a town eaten by fire
pockmarked acrid mountainside
not yet scrubbed of smoke.
We kept going, the Russian River uncharred,
irrupted by spring and green.
At the start of that long hike early evening
you said, First to spot mushrooms wins.
I read about a study which found a spouse’s hand
calms worry most of all.
You were the first to see them –
then I thought they, like you, were grinning,
having pushed themselves through misty earth
turning so far on itself that it created the opposite
of fear, of the thick clock advancing.
In the bruised dark
gathering now, I remind myself
It is only evening of another day.
Soon your hand will find mine, or mine yours,
and in that place, What other shadows?
Not one, not found.
Valerie Wallace is the author of House of McQueen, selected by Vivee Francis for the Four Way Books Intro Prize, and the chapbook The Dictators’ Guide to Good Housekeeping, from which Margaret Atwood selected 10 poems for the Atty Award. Her work has been supported by Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago, Ragdale Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Mendocino Coast Writers Program, among others. She serves on the Board of RHINO.