a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
ened each hinge of her crate with her tongue
until the door fell off? She was bacon,
of course, but not before she had loos-
ened the other sows’ hinges too, loos-
ened her piglets from the harrowing crate,
the farrowing crate, our own dinner plates.
Away from the metal rod and months on
her side unable to turn, she turned.
With her mother-love, her sister muses,
she found vision in the heart of misery,
a sure-footed, moral vision. Imagine
her flesh, not unlike human flesh, loos-
ened from a life longing to be free.
Kathryn Kirkpatrick is the author of seven collections of poetry, including three recipients of the NC Poetry Society’s Brockman-Campbell award. The Fisher Queen: New & Selected Poems (Salmon, 2019) received the NC Literary and Historical Society’s Roanoke Chowan Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in Appalachian Journal, Calyx, Cave Wall, Cortland Review, The Hollins Critic, Liber, North American Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, Southern Humanities Review, Southern Review, storySouth, Terrain.org and other journals. Although she grew up in the nomadic subculture of the U.S. Air Force and spent her childhood in the Philippines, Texas, and Germany, she has lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains for many years, where she teaches environmental literature, animal studies, Irish studies, and creative writing as Professor of English at Appalachian State University. She is one of the faculty founders and co-coordinators of ASU’s Animal Studies minor.