a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
“Don’t hurry. Be here. Do this,”
splashing like hooves.
The long moss flowing from stone over skulls of Crow
and Blackfeet riding on hidden ponies.
The Missouri River curves
over rocks hot with sun, slopes past
thick brush crackling with a touch.
At the Little Gates, I sew up my sneakers to last
another day or two in shin deep waters at Three Forks.
A trestle on one side,
a highway on the other. Both sides
a boisterous moon.
It plays hide-and-seek between trains and trucks
in purple nights with the Rocky Mountain silhouettes.
Strong with deer-scent
the Jefferson River keeps me lingering
behind tiny hoof-prints.
There is no better sound, nor hidden present, each step
slippery in the snow melt. I stay in my body waiting.
Rapids bubble past
from willow shade to mountain shade
to pools of blue light.
Where bears snuffle in the fog, Big Baldy Mountain
strip-mined to an inverted cone puddles the red moonlight.
Nesting sandhill cranes
form wild circles in the upstream grass.
The broken rudder gets repaired.
With practice, I step among the garter snakes foraging
underwater, like freight trains in valleys of river stones.
With intricate hugs
they nudge beneath rocks for nymphs,
holding their snake breaths.
All day I walk until evening falls into my mind,
reading Lame Deer in the last quiet light of sunset.
A little brown bat
climbs up and nestles head down
from the top of my sock.
My feet, the roots, little wings that flutter, petals
released from the earth, a vase for each small thing.
Mark B. Hamilton’s new chapbook, 100 Miles of Heat, is available from Finishing Line Press (2017). Recent poems have appeared in About Place Journal, The Wayfarer, Ship of Fools, Slipstream, and Albatross, and are forthcoming in Plainsongs and Oxford Poetry, UK. He has served as the editor for two environmental publications: Words On Wilderness, University of Montana, and Groundwork, Ball State University. Previous poetry volumes are available as second printings from Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.