a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
to call sugar to this world.
The berries tumble towards you, curious,
as large dark eyes.
You don’t need to make the ironweed stalks
purple the meadow, the bramble
of storm clouds break open
over the valley, the summer bloom
into monarchs and milkweed. You can’t
force the woman in the clapboard house
who’s lived her whole life here
to call you—come here Sugar— from the road
to sit in a rocking chair
on her porch, swatting away horseflies
while she tells you the long story
of blackberry picking on the hillside,
preserving fruit with her grandmother.
Finally, your words
crystalize in late summer, say grace,
say faith, say courage, say love,
gathered overnight in the ditches, with
ironweed, blackberries, forget-me-not.
Katherine Smith’s poetry publications include appearances in Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and many other journals. Her short fiction has appeared in Fiction International and Gargoyle. Her first book Argument by Design (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) appeared in 2003. Her second book of poems Woman Alone on the Mountain (Iris Press), appeared in 2014. She works at Montgomery College in Maryland.