a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
with honey, soaked in rum, the cakes turned black with nuts and berries,
candied fruit, desiccated, glazed and scented by cardamom,
or whatever else was dug from the bottom of the pantry. Heavy
and indestructible, the gooey preserves of a holiday at approach, another
soaked refuge for a teetotaler’s rum. And the women who compared
their artistry, or failing that, the mere obsession for adding more,
adding like bits of words, the choked, broken parses of speech, gossip’s
gooey subterfuge, the bitter they took from the sweet, the awful
comparisons and jealous green of the chewy, glowing condiments, red sour
cherries, and all that seemed scraps from their day’s journey through
carpools and bridge and bean snaps in chicken salad served at the club.
Why hermit? Though to live withdrawn in perfume and negligee
silence, inside boxwood hedges at the edge of noon, was to show
their sweet, weighted burden under honey-brown skins,
their bodies baked under rays of coastal light, where husbands
rented summer homes, played adultery after hours, bored themselves with golf.
This mix as discordant as the past, layered black and nut, blanched white
in spun confections, jeweled globes, antique and dark resins stained as
wood, an admiring “awe” from the women at the tables who cut
through the hard loaf with a certain greed, each close-packed slice come of
infinite doting, a wedding treat meant to survive, fermented, acrid, dry.
Walter Holland, PhD, is the author of three books of poetry including Circuit, Transatlantic, and A Journal of the Plague Years: Poems 1979-1992 as well as one novel, The March. His work has appeared in The Antioch Review, Assaracus, HazMat, Redivider, Rhino and other journals and anthologies. He lives in New York City and is a regular contributor to Lambda Literary and Pleiades. For more info check out walterhollandwriter.com.