a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
My mother used to mutter
we’d never be safe. We must be
safer than they were.
I’m not supposed to say
how my father bought solid gold
Krugerrand coins straight
from the Denver Mint and buried them
in the backyard. Eleven steps
southwest of the swing set: Meet there if
—no, when. My mother kept
our passports up to date; that part’s
not a secret. You can’t just sit there.
We learned the word “bystander”
to learn there are no bystanders. Not
two of my brothers in the backyard
while I shoved the third. Not
in Germany. We don’t even know
who we lost there. I do not want
to tell you about the four minutes
at sea: what the boy’s weeping father
told the cameras. No distance
from the thing itself, if you really look.
His body is on every screen.
You have to see the cavern
of his left eye socket glancing
the foam. You have to look for a flutter
in his lashes. The little shell
of his left ear opens upward,
but it doesn’t hear the rolling surf
or the persistent scratch
of a Tunisian policeman’s pencil
logging his body in a notebook
while his cheek presses into sand.
Rachel Edelman was raised in a Jewish family in Memphis, TN and lived in Western Massachusetts, Maine, and Colorado before settling, for now, in Seattle. She has received fellowships and residencies from the Mineral School, Crosstown Arts, the Academy of American Poets, and the University of Washington. She writes for the Ploughshares blog, and her poems have been published in The Threepenny Review, Poetry Northwest, the Southern Humanities Review, The Pinch, Day One, Lockjaw, and other journals.