a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
I’m wearing short sleeves and ink on my fingers.
There was another chemical spill on Thursday,
They called some men at the Capitol about it on Saturday.
The newspapers told us Sunday night while we were sleeping.
The water bubbles up over my naked toes and I think of all the tiny bones that I’ve broken.
I shuffle further out into the creek and yearn for the years when you could drink this water, for I know that tonight, in the shower, the clean water will burn the places where this stream touched.
I pretend, for now, that it will not.
I pretend, for now, that this place does not care about me.
I pretend, for now, that the three crosses perched on every other hilltop lead me home,
They lead me around in circles,
always back to a highway marker in that awful green color
That is supposed to blend with the nature
Perhaps, someday, when Coal is King again and the trees are artificial like Christmas,
they will be.
I call my mom when I get home,
and tell her not to drink the water.
Odana Lee Chaney is a fifth- or sixth- generation West Virginian (depending on who you ask) whose work is largely unpublished but does appear in the Women of Appalachia Project’s Women Speak: Volume Three and the 2018 Travellin’ Appalachians Revue. She attended the University of Pittsburgh where she found her voice but forgot to graduate.