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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Candace Butler

Candace Butler
Several hundred people gather
for a community meeting about
rainwater harvesting laws.
In a hot gymnasium
on a summer day, old and young
assemble on the bleachers.
No one wants to receive a notice
like Mr. Miller who was fined
for collecting rain to wash vehicles.
Isn’t the water falling freely from the sky
free for us to use as we please?
No one had read the law stating
rain belongs to the state.
A man in overalls sits up straight,
squints his eyes so he can see
the city official speaking up front.
The woman beside him raises her hand,
trembling slightly with age,
into the air.
What if I just catch some in a little pail
to water my rosebushes?
Is that illegal, too?
Eyes dart in all directions
then come together, all focusing on
the man in the button-up shirt before them,
with the stodgy plaid tie,
and the lips forming
a stern and futile
Candace Butler is an MFA candidate at Antioch University of Los Angeles. She is a writer and artist residing in her hometown of Sugar Grove, Virginia, a small rural town in the mountains of Appalachia. She holds dear the beauty of the Jefferson National Forest that adjoins her backyard. She enjoys teaching creative writing workshops, songwriting, and traveling. Her website is:


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