a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
When I was the dry streambed, rock-strewn,
when I was the field tickseed and lupine-flung,
when I was muddy logans, when I was the forest, I was green’s flotilla,
shroud of cool shadow. Post-ocean, the spines of brachipods
in the ancient sleep of bedrock. I was pine hours, warbler inflected.
When I was the forest I was sap, slope, den, wind hefted, wind thinned.
When I was the forest, light thickened me. When I was
the forest, crow discourse, bat careen, horned owl nocturne. I was old news,
blossom at the root, blossoms at the tip. When I was the forest
I was din; I was mud-honeyed, bee riven, spun, begun
and begun. Burred ice, shed needles, shed skin. How my barks, bug strewn
dreamt skyward. How I was starlight’s basin.
See my bears like loved child gods? See the moose gods go lumbering?
See the sharp teeth of my fisher cats, my mink? How mid-day I am low shush,
bee hum, the mouth of, the bottom and reach of infinity and infinity undone?
(in memory, John Sullivan)
To see a moose
requires off handed luck,
a patience of dawns
and dusks. It requires
keeping a distance,
a kind of respect,
the season of the logans’
long grasses thickening,
Spring’s first hatch
from mud to air,
until it’s a kingdom of bug
swarm. Casual as a god,
one steps out
from the darkening firs,
from that low lying cool
of conifer floor.
his rack, stubs
of furred velvet.
He’s here for the glut
of soupy weeds.
I stay until he feeds—
and is a darker shadow
within the dark, drifting back
to the black trees.
Not all loneliness is bereft.
That night in my dream blueberries edged
the lake through which my gentle,
unhurried relatives rowed
themselves back to me.
My uncle grinned a greeting.
The song in the dream
became the lake, the reflection of each leaf,
a prophesy of flocked trees, holy particularities.
Melanie Almeder is a writer living in Maine and in the western mountains of Virginia. Her first book of poems, On Dream Street, was published by Tupelo Press, and won the editor’s award there. Her second manuscript, which has been a finalist in three book awards, is under submission. Poems from both books have been published in a range of journals including Poetry, The Seneca Review, The American Literary Review, Five Points, and 32Poems, among others. She is a professor and community arts organizer.