a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
signs, hunted the caimanes to extinction,
made boots for themselves, belts to whip
our children. We’ve been renamed,
lost in the web of a foreign alphabet.
Baptism leaves us thirsty and wanting.
They told us the Spanish for river is peligro
while casting nets and peeling rocks
from their sleep, impervious to the scream
of the currents, their ears attuned to the one-
faced god. Oxbowed, reshaped, separated
from the Mother, we call on the Churún,
find our way back to be reborn among silt
and sediment into runnel and brook, stream
and arroyo. Like the caimanes, we watch and wait,
tracking each of their movements listening
for the smallest vibration. They think we’re afraid.
In our language, fear is synonymous with freedom.
Leonora Simonovis is a Venezuelan American poet, editor and professor of Latin American literature and creative writing in Spanish at the University of San Diego. Her debut poetry collection, Study of the Raft, won the 2021 Colorado Prize for Poetry and received Honorable Mention at the 2022 International Latino Book Awards. Her poems consider the intersections of language, identity, and spirituality in connection to the environment and to her experience as an exile. Leonora’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming from DMQ Review, River Mouth Review, Verse Daily, Kweli, Diode Poetry Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and The Rumpus, among others. She is the Reviews Editor at Ecotheo Review and the Currents Editor at terrain.org.