a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
When the weather warmed for a brief sennight
all the happily beetroot-ing beetroots withered, the leaves
yellowed and ashed away. I scored them off with fingernails.
Because when cooler weather flung down raindrops
the leaves recovered, underground hearts resumed (presumably) their growth.
As with any root we wait and see; except for the one
plucked too early in impatience, leaking juice on the drainboard.
Climbing the cheap arch I bought from Morrison’s, they twirl clitoral
flowers out, tendrils of buttoned soft purples, bee friendly,
dropping green, expanding canoes, tough flesh snappable when fresh.
the bean leaves began wilting from the ground up. I wish the long pods
towards fullness before the whole plant withers, vine and all.
Perhaps it is the overhead pounding of the rain from the too-full gutter.
Perhaps it is the shallow pot meant for a windowsill; I’ve hemmed them in to death.
Under the spreading uneven London Planes, giantesses for their species,
shat upon by the crack-mad east London things, the rampions
weren’t best pleased to go in such dry soil, cosseted by aloof irises.
when more than I planted surfaced, when a few white flowers flung
seeds out. I doubt my patch will emerge come spring. Time will tell.
This year, time told two snakehead fritillaries I had forgotten,
purple chessboard lanterns that do nothing but glow in warning or in welcome.
The hedge fell away from the fence where my neighbours had been working.
I did not realise they’d chopped down the barrier leaves and stems.
Suddenly it was them and me, across a naked chain link fence.
leering out towards the meadowed hollyhocks like a witch in a tale
beckoning, anciently virginal, under the golden wattle’s thirsty boughs.
What is the difference between ivy and bindweed? Little. One is for Rapunzel
the other for her contemporary heirs, struggling against the overgrowth.
Erin Clark is an American priest and writer based in east London, England. Her poems and short nonfiction have been published in Geez, Pilcrow & Dagger, and The Scores, amongst other journals. She wrote a chapter for The Book of Queer Prophets (2020), and is the author of Sacred Pavement (2021).