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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Wendy BooydeGraaff


Start with a seed
soak it in liquid
until its shell softens
and the tender bits
inside swell and pulse.
Don’t scratch the seed
coat, or prod with a sharp
knife. The magic
happens on its own. Let
it find its way to yellow
skies, stand on its own
spindle legs; under
stand it does need you,
your kind breath, your
patient gaze. Or if it’s
not quite need, let’s say
want, or better yet
bask. The seed basks
in your waiting. Isn’t
that worth your time?

Reverse Cancer

The mortician wipes off the pancake

makeup from your waxy cold skin,

returns your body to the gurney

delivers you to the fourth floor

hospital bed where your last breath

humps backward into your concave

chest, the morphine pushing

up the plastic tube, filling the deflated

IV bag. The fluid retained around

your abdomen recedes into your glands,

muscles, bones; your mouth closes, your eyes

open, your hand feels for the double

joint in my pinky not for the last time.

The tumours on your liver retract

to your pancreas, dissolve into the various

chemical compounds, unabsorbed

by your tissues. Once again, you walk

the farm, unspray the fruit trees, un-

tell us to close windows, and we stay

outside. You re-cap the organochloride,

drive it ten miles back to the farm

supplier in the brown Oldsmobile.

You unlearn the agricultural principles

of the 1950s; you bite into the peach,

accept the worm. Blight curls

the leaves and the year of our bumper

crop no longer exists.


Wendy BooydeGraaff’s poetry has been included in Not Very Quiet, Slant: A Journal of Poetry, South Broadway Ghost Society, Nymphs, and elsewhere. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, she now lives in Michigan, United States.

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