a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
black banded darter, says firey skipper
and hearts a bustin’ with love.
The creek says pipsissewa with a grin
widening from saying such.
The creek claims in this beginning,
there is pigtoe, fleabane, and studfish,
and yellow shafted flicker.
Words becoming petal and shell,
words becoming feather and flesh.
The creek says say them with me,
say black redhorse, say indigo bunting,
Eastern spadefoot, Alabama hogsucker.
Say oblong sedge borer and sassafras.
Say them all here, call them into being.
The creek suggests you hike
while calling devil’s walking stick, wants you
to sit and watch for the slowpoke moth,
a Southern zigzag, and a false underwing.
The creek says take a stroll and belt out
raccoon, fox, and belted kingfisher.
Then listen. Call all the warblers,
the black-throated green, the yellow-rumped,
the prairie, the worm-eating,
call every last warbler into warbling.
Come on in, the creek says,
meet the Canoe Creek Clubshell,
feel the cool of the rainbow shiner,
the mimic shiner, the silverstripe shiner,
and the largescale stoneroller.
The creek says say Big Canoe
as you dip your oar, says
say Creek as you balance
light as whisper on these waters.
Tina Mozelle Braziel is the author of Known by Salt (Anhinga Press), winner of the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, and Rooted by Thirst (Porkbelly Press). She has been awarded a fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and an artist residency at Hot Springs National Park. As the first Eco-Poetry Fellow for Magic City Poetry Festival, she collaborated with the Cahaba River Society to create eco-poetry curriculum and videos. She and her husband, novelist James Braziel, live and write in a glass cabin that they are building by hand on Hydrangea Ridge. They are currently writing a collection of poems about their glass cabin life. The book will be released in 2024 by Pulley Press.