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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

Karla Linn Merrifield

Running Away Together

The Woolastook I and its mate the W II
are domesticated ferries doing small-time runs,
a one-kilometer crossing between landings.
There’s this about them: Call it cable or leash,
it’s a wrist-thick tether, an earthly tie of steel,
buckled to these river boats to keep them in line
so they can’t stray too far off course, you see.
They have to be—out of pure necessity.
These little vessels, double-enders that they are,
sniff wildness of mightiest tides,
long to run away from Gagetown, run away
from the nonstop monotony of river-ferry life.
They long to give their captains the slip,
rush downstream, spinning stem to stem,
stern to stern, on the Saint John to Saint John,
on their way through the fabled white water
of Reversing Falls, beyond the bosom of the harbor
to Earth’s matriarch of bays, the bay, the Bay of Fundy.
I don’t blame them one briny drop;
we’d all like to sail a wonder of the world.
Karla Linn Merrifield, a seven-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, has had some 400 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has ten books to her credit, the newest of which are Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (Mercury Heartlink) and Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems (FootHills Publishing). Forthcoming from Salmon Poetry is Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems of the Far North. Her Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills) received the 2009 Eiseman Award for Poetry and she recently received the Dr. Sherwin Howard Award for the best poetry published in Weber – The Contemporary West in 2012. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (, a member of the board of directors of TallGrass Writers Guild and Just Poets (Rochester, NY), and a member of the New Mexico State Poetry Society. Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at


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