Please help the Black Earth Institute continue to make art and grow community so needed for our time. Donate now »

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

Amy Ratto Parks

About Place Journal, Volume II Issue I

Song for the Persistence of Light  Today the clouds were so low on the hills that whole neighborhoods of homes lifted off, alighted from their stations and leaned doggedly into the headwinds like a herd of brick relics  determined to make the most of their unexpected condition. The grave cavities left behind -- the cement and rebar and wood planks -- will slowly concede to the age and wisdom of the weather.  And meanwhile, on this side of the clouds, the houses continued on in their earnest, sentinel efforts at defending against tree roots, sewer lines, the leaves in the gutters  and the people, too, were pushing on -- the man leaning into the rain, his hands stoically braced in his jean pockets, the woman hurrying across the road in quick, punctuated movements, her eyes squinting up here and there, and the children on bikes, skidding through puddles, drawing faces, writing their names in the rain on the windows.  And I was all of these people and all of the houses too. Alternately braced, punctuated, stoic, or suddenly, lifted  by the tulips that have survived the deer, the aspens that have endured the ants, the clematis which grows again despite the lack of care. There are so many things that continue because they must, and sometimes  we are those things, swallowing the ill-measured recipes of daily life. But sometimes, too, we unexpectedly alight -- not up into the sky, but up from under everything we push into new again, with green persistence and having grown fat on the rain  curl up past the soil, vine out across the dark yard and grow blindly into the brilliant familiar.
Amy Ratto Parks is the author of the “Bread and Water Body”, the winner of the Merriam Frontier Chapbook Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming from The Mississippi Review, Court Green, The South Dakota Review, and Barrow Street among others. Her poem, Conception, was nominated for a 2006 Pushcart Prize. A former editor of Writer’s Digest, Fiction Writer magazine, and Cutbank Literary magazine, she received her MFA and MA from the University of Montana where she currently teaches writing.



©2024 Black Earth Institute. All rights reserved.  |  ISSN# 2327-784X  |  Site Admin