a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
orphan or take a parent’s child. The tree will soon
articulate its loss, first flush, then naked limbs.
Geese announce their disciplined direction.
They won’t turn back. What can I discover from
their V shaped flight? My dear brother, you claim
faith in poems to get us through. Here, hold these
words until they bloom to flame like candle, then
turn them into water, sprinkle everything you find
with or without the chance to grow. Who’s to say
the likelihood? Let’s train each muscle’s syllabus
of love no matter the attempts to rip it raw.
The rickety bridge under my bare feet, time filled
body, and yours, is broken, too, but someone
drew its design, measured, cut and nailed. Now
with spit, paste, memory, hammer, grit and what’s
still not known, we’ll mend each part and keep walking –
Kathy Engel is a poet who has worked for nearly forty years at the nexus between social justice movements and art/imagination. Books include “Ruth’s Skirts,” poems and prose, IKON, 2007, and “We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon,” co-edited with Kamal Boullata. Other books include “The Kitchen” with art by German Perez and “Banish The Tentative,” a chapbook. Her book of poems, “The Lost Brother Alphabet,” will be published by Get Fresh Books in early 2020. Associate Arts Professor and Chair of the Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, Engel co-founded, led and consulted with, wrote and spoke for numerous organizations and campaigns including MADRE, Poets for Ayiti, Lyrical Democracies, East End Women in Black, Stand With Sisters for Economic Dignity, and Riptide Communications. A video based on a choral reading of her poem “To Kneel” against the backdrop of dramatic footage is currently live on TheRoot.com (tv): https://www.theroot.com/watch-who-will-kneel-for-you-artists-speak-out-1822681606.