a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
off from ship’s grasp held tight in icy fiords, whose walls are calving and crying like
I have arrived as a beached whale upon the summer’s shore, an upended puzzle of
The gulls and shrikes careen overhead, jaegers dive bomb my limp hair in warning or
for its twisted strands, fodder for their ground-borne nests camouflaged in a riot of
matted together as one, terra incognito, I must come to know. Permafrost carpet,
of my soul, warped by arctic hours, the speed demon—light—in this latitude, pressing
to seed, seed to soil, and all creatures foraging furiously before hibernation, migration or
Height of summer, elliptical curve of northern sky never fully darkens. I dream aurora
its green curtain falling in waves, like you, that last time, back-lit at dusk, and I hear
stars, read their outlines like a new alphabet or points of Braille I can not see but almost
Desiccated, my southern soul feeds upon open space but distances deceive. Fata Morgana
shimmering over seas, another land beckons, assassinates my exhausted mind,
flummoxed, everything appears mysterious, abysmal, sealed. It is the unfading light
by cold air that haunts, it is what disappears and what remains, the soon to be
tundra sponge, dense and mournful running ribbon-like through my shoes, water
from my unfooted sock, borne high on willows, bough bound to bough, a flag of
with gasoline. Struck the match.
A woman climbed a tree, hundreds of years older
than she was and slated for lumber.
She camped there two years—
hard to imagine, remember.
The world went on. We know
the statistics but who
can keep the numbers straight?
Who wants to hear more
about the fingers, tongues, bodies
chopped off, cut out, blown apart?
I think about stones, heaped like holy bones
over street-tree roots in Brooklyn—to keep
them moist—and the man
guarding them. He doesn’t miss
a day, an hour. If someone lops
off a branch, steals a stone
what else disappears?
Check off the box for “love,” add
my sister, who upends time
watching baseball on TV with her friend
who has fallen asleep in his wheelchair,
drooling and dying and unaware
that she is still there.
Suzanne Edison is a Seattle poet and the author of a chapbook, The Moth Eaten World published by Finishing Line Press. Her poetry can be found in: What Rough Beast; Bombay Gin; The Naugatuck River Review, Spring 2017, as a finalist in their Narrative Contest. Among other places, her work has also appeared in The Ekphrastic Review; The Seattle Review of Books; Spillway; The Examined Life Journal, and in the following anthologies: Face to Face: Women Writers on Faith, Mysticism and Awakening, ed. Joy Harjo & Brenda Peterson, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux; The Healing Art of Writing, Volume One.