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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

Jessica Gigot

Pregnant Ex-Pat in an Everyday Landscape

My world, up close,

Looks strangely familiar.

Apple and pear blossoms

Burst from silent limbs.


I have the Senator’s number

Memorized: 2o2-224-3121.

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.

Fall Salmon Run

Samish River, Skagit County

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
For home.

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.

We are all irreverent teenagers, loitering along the bank,

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.

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