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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

Maureen O’Brien

About Place Journal, Volume II Issue I

Forty Buckets

In the March wind birdhouses swing like
  white lanterns in the rain.
Drops flow from the faucet of the maple tree
and is it true?
What the Cheyenne believe, that trees can speak and if
so, then, like women, they weep
when the right touch bores through near the core.
Don’t I too understand? How to stay still through a winter.
Dead leaves swirled and brightened this year’s sap.
Have any of my losses sweetened me.
It takes 40 flowing buckets of sap boiled over fire to make one single gallon.
A dark gold drop of maple syrup falls.
Just like love.
The work of it is endless.
Maureen O’Brien’s poetry chapbook “The Other Cradling” was published in 2011, by Finishing Line Press. It received an Honorable Mention in the New England’s Poetry Club 2011 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. Her novel b-mother was published by Harcourt Trade in 2007, and has been translated into German and Italian. She received the Patricia Dobler Poetry Award from Carlow University for her poem “Incoming Wounded”; the prize was a trip to Ireland to study with Irish writers. She is also a recipient of a fiction grant from the 2010 Solo Writers Fellowship, and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. Her poems and stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies including Hurricane Alice, The Red Rock Review, Kalliope, How(ever), Earth’s Daughters, and The Louisville Review, The Lilliput Review; Hard Ground III: Writing the Rockies; Through a Child’s Eyes; Mother’s Nature; I Am Becoming the Woman I’ve Wanted (which received an American Book Award). She received an Honorable Mention in the Robert Penn Warren Award, judged by Yusef Komunyakaa, and is included in the Anthology of New England Writers. Her work is forthcoming in Southern Women’s Review and The Cancer Poetry Project II.



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