a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Leaves falling into water.
of small black bugs on the surface of the water.
That which is light enough
to ride upon the surface.
The fish and the shadow of the fish.
The long eddy spinning us
for a moment.
Her river-soaked fur.
How clean it was after, water
beaded on her back like stars.
Her easing into water
a way I could ease into it too,
the way she drank water as she waded
a way I could drink too.
The deep breath she drew,
snout deep in roots.
The earth eternally new.
As she loved to walk,
even when she couldn’t stand up on her own afterwards.
I should have gotten in front of her pain.
You have to get in front of the pain.
Annie Woodford is from a mill town in the Virginia Piedmont. She is the author of Bootleg (Groundhog Poetry Press, 2019). Her second book, Where You Come from Is Gone (2022), is the winner of Mercer University’s 2020 Adrienne Bond Prize and the 2022 Weatherford Award for Appalachian Poetry. Her work is forthcoming in Gulf Coast Online and Cutleaf and has appeared in MQR Mixtape, Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, and The Southern Review, among others. She has been awarded scholarships to the Sewanee and Bread Loaf writers’ conferences as well as Barbara Deming Fund and Jean Ritchie fellowships. In 2022, she was a finalist for a Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant.