a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
My world, up close,
Looks strangely familiar.
Apple and pear blossoms
Burst from silent limbs.
I have the Senator’s number
I call regularly to voice concern.
The young, subdued staffer
Recognizes my voice, listens
And says, “I’ll pass that on.”
A robin is bouncing around
Newly planted pea seeds.
Just looking, not taking, I pray.
The rhubarb plant’s green mitt
Widens up as if to catch
The sun’s original orb.
Inquiries to the Office of Government Ethics
From concerned citizens
Has increased 5200% this year.
I know I am not alone.
The heart of spring
Holds many contradictions.
Snow still coats the foothills
While tulips and salmonberry blossoms
Expose their frailties to warmer mornings.
This denial and bullying is not us.
We’ve degenerated to
The shadowy backside of freedom.
I walk barefoot in the cool grass
Embrace my expanded belly,
My own personal march for science
And life and beauty. I sing to
The one I am welcoming to this strange world.
How do I dodge despondency?
Where does my small voice find thunder?
I am not hopeless and I am not leaving
But I am not sure where I belong in this unwritten history.
Past the wheat stubble
And spent spinach seed crop
The bridge is littered
With trucks, men and tackle
Boxes awaiting the big Kings
Or maybe the fall Chum-Coho.
Salmon carcasses loll like stones
Along the river floor.
The fall, a last hope
Farmers and bankers stand shoulder
To tartan shoulder to snag
A wearied one. In water this low,
You could almost yank
A tail by the hand
(if no one is watching).
I hear a cough and then a
“Fuck!” Two teenage boys
Scramble up from under the
Bridge, coughing, with their trick
Bikes, backpacks, baseball hats
Backwards. They are not in school,
Nor do they see below the water.
The salmon is sport.
The salmon is spirit food
For the families that paddled
This river first.
When fishing was closed,
There was blame on both sides
For the dwindling harvest.
How quickly hate is abandoned
Now that permits are open again.
Watching nameless eddies circle and pass.
Conservation shouldn’t cost more than consumption,
But it always does.
Jessica Gigot, Ph.D, M.F.A, is a poet, farmer, teacher and musician. She has a small farm in Bow, WA, called Harmony Fields that grows herbs, lamb and specialty produce. She also offers educational & art workshops through her Art in the Barn series. Jessica has lived in the Skagit Valley for over ten years and is deeply connected to the artistic and agricultural communities that coexist in the region. Her writing has been published in the Floating Bridge Press Review, Poetry Northwest and All We Can Hold: Poems of Motherhood. Her first book of poems, Flood Patterns, was published by Antrim House Books in 2015.