a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
scanned the frozen faces, some thousands of miles away. I shut my eyes, letting the echo
of that final lonely note ring through the empty farmhouse and heard it fall flat on the loft floor.
I envisioned a world in which the wildflowers still bloomed & the bees doused themselves
in clouds of yellow pollen, dusting the earth and spreading new life. Wild viburnum
blossoming its white flowers on the far hill and cattails swaying on the bank of the stocked pond.
When I opened my eyes, I forced myself into the cold of early spring and onto the wet dock.
There, I saw the resident blue heron, standing still on her one good leg; the stump of the other
tucked away under her smooth gray feathers. That leg was severed at the tarsus long ago.
She craned her neck over the pond, transfixed with its contents. The red-winged blackbird
whistled a glitchy tune and swayed as the cattails bent in the wind. The water lapped
the dock slightly; for a moment, the melody and rhythm worked together to move time forward.
The heron struck her weathered beak into the darkness, gobbling up some unfortunate fish from
its depths. All the while, those tiny spring peepers chimed on in the brush, cooing and whistling
their night-soaked song as a unified chorus, not one lonely note to be found.
Taylor Polito is a poet and Social Worker residing on a 400-acre farm on the Agriculture Reserve of Montgomery County, Maryland. She currently works as a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor for students with differing abilities. She is published in the Journal of Latina Critical Feminism. The poem presented was written throughout the first year of the pandemic. During this time, she immersed herself in the natural world and focused on better understanding how she fit into it, separate from the technological advancements of the human world. Tiny Valley Isolation Songs is a short manuscript that reflects this experience.