Kjerstin Anne Kauffman / Ingrid Ellison
My mother surreptitiously turns over peaches,
hiding the green ones, the bruised ones we ransacked,
I and my children, between the warm leaves,
before we can haul them to the scale.
Our plunder blushing in its cardboard crate
(yes, I crave it even now) does fail
to align. Big peaches jostle the small ones,
off-balance, or oddly oblate.
We have to respect the orchard, she’d said,
and she’d meant—suddenly, I understand—
produce culled, cradled, and basking
in ripe uniformity.
A pity we’ve left her to salvaging
what order she can, then bearing, with relative
grace, old Yaryan, who stoops,
weighs, and condescends
to advise: don’t turn up the stems, now.
Maybe we all of us, knowing best, err.
But who’ll forgive us our clumsy possession
of this fruit, these yielded gems?
Morning in the Cascades
The suburban smells like teenage boys
and coffee. But I’m in the back,
I’m the queen
of this expedition, who gets to sprawl
with Ebony, the dog, behind
the back seat, on the sleeping-bag-bed
over rucksacks and ski gear. I get
this envied seat, because when I read
The roads glisten
with ice. This drive is dangerous. Yet the whole,
parentless carload’s in thrall to Watership Down
though mostly they’re too old
for it, not bold
enough to admit they like it. I know
it bothers them—maybe it should—
that it’s a story about bunnies.
But it’s funny,
right now, no one wants to stop. We all
want to hear the world, like we thought,
is our enemy. We have to have cunning,
around in it. We have to have tricks.
Maybe they think, these brothers,
and these brothers’ friends, while I read
they don’t need—
But look. We have such power then. The sun
stands over the mountains. The snow
is everywhere. And my voice, as we are cresting,
is full, is arresting.
Turning, in Winter
Come inside, winnowing. Two months
this house has been in and out of a fever.
This room has asked me to bend
and whisk away: mucus, peevishness, sorrow.
Now the snow concentrates, heavy, tossing
on window and door. All day
I’ve been brooding the blue-light dispatches
of my phone—is this odd? some mother
had her children whisked by mistake,
by her benevolent state, by god—
The narrowest of passages, the most
impenetrable door I incline to survive as.
Nevertheless, I invite you,
flurry subsumed in this cavern, this room.
Ingrid Ellison is a painter working in oil and mixed media. Born in Boston, Ingrid has made Maine her home since 2007. She has exhibited at the CMCA, AVA Center for the Arts, Cynthia Winings Gallery, and Frank Brockman Gallery. Ingrid has a passion for sharing what she does with students both school aged and adult.
Kjerstin Anne Kauffman has taught creative writing at Johns Hopkins University and Hillsdale College. Her poems, essays, and reviews appear in many periodicals including Literary Matters, Gulf Coast, 32 Poems, The Cresset, Salamander, and The American Poetry Review.
Chelsea Wagenaar / Sal Taylor Kydd
—divination by frogs
crouch in clear waters, their mottled skin
as dew brilliant as the spiderwebs were the spring
my father saved them. They don’t know how
they were spared, of course, the wrist-thin skin
of their throats pale and pulsing to sound out
the hours, each other. Perhaps only a few
still survive that spring twelve years ago,
when their mother trekked up from the wooded stream
that bordered our yard and emptied her belly
in our swimming pool—nebulous cluster
of milky globules suspended there, each an eye
with its black, pinpricked center. There,
to our spellbound disgust, they hatched—
the pool a frantic bevy of heads and tails,
the luck or curse that placed them there.
If I follow them back through their afterlives,
bellowing and skin-darkened to herald
a coming rain, voluble with warning
when storms approached, some lost,
perhaps tweezed apart in junior high labs,
or caught again by my father, cupped too tightly
in the hands of his new daughter—if I follow them
back through their chorused, forested lives,
I can trace them up the garden hose
that poured them in synchronized frenzy
into their rightful waters, the hose
a sinuous lifeline climbing the yard to our pool,
where its other end siphoned the tadpoles
from a water thrilled with their darting chaos.
Look harder, farther: I see my father
by the stream, kneeling in damp clay,
his lungs full, his mouth around the hose
inhaling a deep, slow gasp, then another,
until the summoned water met his mouth.
The bodies pouring out into the life
they had not known to imagine.
And his watching them arrowed away
in the current like undoused green flames.
And the bitter, secret taste on his tongue.
Lullaby in a Drought
In the drawers, in the cabinets,
we find pecan casings and pellets,
the answer to the question
of what patters in the walls at night.
We are not the only lovers here.
If the lights go out, we used to say,
you pour the wine and I’ll find
the matches. But we dare not tempt them
in this tinder town—where sycamores shed
parched unready leaves, where yards are fringed
with thistle barbs. If the waters rise,
we used to say, you pour the wine
and I’ll tear out the best pages.
But now the baby’s in her seventh week,
pulled from the secret waters
of my body into a rainless topography.
Who is more sorry?
She sleeps the sleep of rivers.
In the nights I sit cradleside when she wakes,
humming Brahms’ famous notes—
a song he wrote to sway an old love.
So we are always singing
what we cannot change.
The walls fill with patter, rain clouds
form somewhere else. The wine
grows older, finer. If the funnel forms,
if the hail falls.
The Gospel According to the Ant
You unbeautiful unwelcome creature,
I find you
mired in malbec spatter,
freckling the sugar bowl,
a moving pixel among the strawberry’s
Little needle threaded
with these traces of my life,
you sew me
to the whirring world underfoot.
In perfect sync with the 5 o’clock train’s
you bear your crumb freight—
a piece of rind nearly twice your tercet body—
with what I have no word for
except maybe grace. Grace
that stays my hand, grace
that doesn’t lessen your load
but lets you carry it
until you reach your pocket of earth
where the others rise, finally,
to help you set it down.
Sal Taylor Kydd writes of her photographs from Origins. My work is primarily an exploration of memory, how we preserve memories and how they shape our lives moving forward with sometimes illusory certainty. It is also a reflection on time, and an examination of the fleeting moments where we behold change within ourselves and the world around us. I see the photographic object is a keepsake of our experience, and as such is a way of recording discoveries that serves as a reminder of what we have lost and what we are attempting to preserve.
In my most recent work I have been looking at how memory shapes and distorts our understanding of what is real. Specifically it is an exploration of truth through the lens of our relationships – how what we know to be certain about ourselves and the other, changes in the course of that journey. What do we keep for ourselves and what do we share? In a world where everything is shared and exposed, what is left that is sacred.
Chelsea Wagenaar is the author of Mercy Spurs the Bone, selected by Philip Levine as the winner of the 2013 Philip Levine Prize. She holds a BA from the University of Virginia and a PhD from University of North Texas. Her work appears recently or is forthcoming in The Southern Review, The Normal School, and Poetry Northwest. She currently lives in Indiana, where she is a postdoctoral Lilly Fellow at Valparaiso University.
Artist Sal Taylor Kydd has a BA in Modern Languages and an MFA in Photography from Maine Media College. She has exhibited nationally, with shows at A. Smith Gallery in Texas, Gallery 69 in LA, and Pho Pa Gallery in Portland ME. Sal is also a book-artist represented by Priscilla Juvelis, Inc. She resides in Rockport, Maine.
It is so easy to get lost in our hurry to get there- time dissolves as we browse the internet; as we speed from place to place, ingesting soundbites and tweets, directed to the fastest route possible by Google’s algorithms, by the voices from our phones. But, what, ultimately, do we lose in our quest for efficiency?
Poems slow us down and open us up by creating space in which we can navigate and renegotiate the terrain of our lives, explore the intersections between self and other, and imagine new worlds. Dwelling in poetry changes our bearings. Maps do the same thing. They create layers of time and place; they allow us to imagine multiple paths, alternative destinations, new worlds. Illustrating geography, history, politics, and culture, maps, like poems, serve as portals, like the map songs Harriet Tubman and others used to connect stars in the sky and moss on trees and people on the path to freedom.
Michelle Menting’s poetry and Margot Carpenter’s maps invite consideration of the consequences of haste, and they illustrate alternatives. Their work reminds us that many paths lie ahead, twisting and turning and intersecting and diverging, appearing and disappearing, again and again. Slowing down, dwelling in their work, we may feel the connections between humans and other mammals, consider the shared spaces we inhabit, and learn where to find what nourishes us.
AFTER READING “A BLESSING” BY JAMES WRIGHT
I pay more attention to life
along the highway. Literal life. Literal
highway. So often I’m consumed
by the death, the road-kill-carrion
smeared muscle of rodents, raccoons,
even bears. Oh my.
Before A Blessing, I noticed not
the Guernsey cows, so golden, so sweet,
and the deer that make it, that do
their best Baryshnikov over the ditch.
I noticed instead the porcupine’s needles
follicle-ing from asphalt pores, the fox’s tail
bobbing and stuck in a seam of tar,
and the feral cats who didn’t do their best
Martha Graham to avoid a Honda’s tire.
After A Blessing and learning about breaking
into flower, and the joy experienced
from observing two ponies nuzzling,
I pay attention. I see turtles living on the edge,
scooping the gravel to lay their eggs.
And my left arm greens to a stem.
I see frogs being improper in the road, right
in the middle of the road during a rain storm,
and I brush pollen from my shirt.
Those cows, those gentle Guernseys?
I see them, and the fingers on my right hand
become petals. I can’t step out of
my body completely and break
into flower, but parts do blossom.
After reading A Blessing I’m still no fool.
I can’t ignore the sadness of the road,
the literal road, the metaphorical one too.
One morning while running in Madison,
Wisconsin, I saw further up the street
the shape of a squirrel hovering over
some thing, some still but soft thing.
I caught up and the squirrel, that visible
squirrel, didn’t flee. It didn’t leave
its partner, the soft lump in the center
of the road, clearly hit, clearly dead.
This squirrel, this living rodent, this pest
to attics and garages, prodded its dead love.
Nudged her. Wouldn’t leave when I ran by,
and only fled to the grove of oaks
when another truck approached.
I kept running. I looked back,
and that squirrel had returned
to its partner’s side. That’s when I thought
I’d break. That my whole body and heart
would break, but not into blossom.
Instead, I would crumble like a leaf
in November. I would crisp into pieces—
some parts dirt, while others
would sparrow into the wind.
The odor was septic and made us speechless,
though we’d already lost our voices
when the sun napped dusk, when night’s sheet
hushed the traffic, the birds, our thoughts.
It was a peahen hit to the ditch
and decaying. Her left wing shielded
her breast–a draped cape, her final
comfort. The smell of turkey is not
always the same. If we cooked her carcass,
would the scent remind us of arugula,
of berries brined? Of autumn and wood fires,
or late summer’s chilled wine? This find,
this bird, we encountered on an evening
that made us question beauty, was she messaging
her last will and flight? Her lofted feathers,
those still sticking to live twigs weighted
with winter berries, lead us further still
into the meadow policed by the farmer’s
one black horse and one banded cow.
Land we did not own but that owned
our souls in its soil like all life its surface
sends meandering. Not listless in loss
but lustful for fresh discovery in beauty
found in failed crossings, we crossed
as wayfarers. We foraged through paths
in pastures of sorghum futures or would-be whey.
Our earlobes and nostrils, every follicle
of skin, set as seismographs collecting
fall rot and cyclic decay–any fresh
disturbance–in measurements of awe.
HOW, NOW FROM OUR FRONT DOORWAY YOU CAN SEE A FAIRWAY
Maybe the moon rises like this everywhere?
Wide, reflecting the pond in the middle
of a golf course? We laughed: how
coarse, a course of golf. How now
we went from a home in the woods
to puddle and turf. Now,
we look from a gate with wire
that wraps the remaining pines: how, now
they fence the land. Still, that moon,
once buck now harvest, is slow
but full over the tree line. Low
and looming. Too orange to be safe.
This time in my house, I’ll bring in the furniture, inside
this time, from the garage.
Years ago, our house–the one we lived in together, thought
how cool to be new in our twenties with a deed and a driveway,
that house, a brick bungalow with charm–stayed empty
for a year with bags as dressers, futon for our bed.
That house–hollow without tables or chairs, sofa or stools–
we didn’t know how to fill, except with our voices: inside
the air between rafters and thresholds, all that space, we’d loft
phrases, pastoral and poetic. You’d say lines
like, you shed our morning blankets like a dragonfly
molting, and I’d say, you’re wading along the lakeshore,
wielding a net. And back and forth, the words we tossed
echoed and faded, bounced in that space we shared
against emptiness. Maybe if we had created an alcove,
spackled a wall, constructed a partition, or just brought in
our furniture, we could have secured our words, trapped them
inside, filled our house like an aquarium of language.
Instead, after coffee that final August morning–our last
together in that house or anywhere, with windows
open, breeze traveling through–we sat in silence.
The only words were stuck on the refrigerator door.
In block letters we formed phrases, final and magnetic.
You linked: SHADOWS WE FELL THROUGH
TRUTHS WE LOST. And I linked: I KNOW
AND MISS A HOUSE A HOME.
And all around us, inside and quiet, the wind blew
our phantom voices from rafters to thresholds.
Remember when you could draw Ursa Major
from memory? How you knew to dip from line
to endpoint to line to endpoint? Ursa Minor was the same
across the sky, and Orion was a three-prong belt. Maybe
this was in third grade when string cheese was in lunch boxes
and string theory on TV. When space shuttles taught you
the word tragedy and you hoped your teachers would never
fly away. Something about outlining the stars—
forming constellations by connecting the dots, something
about endpoints— seemed necessary, like a new language
you could use in a future where everyone soared in cars.
Something about mapping those lines, and memorizing
the Latin, and that joy you got from asking, “how is that a bear
or an archer with a bow, and what is a big dipper anyway?”
Some things are so easy to forget once you learn tragedy by heart.
Stephanie Wade teaches writing and environmental humanities at Unity College. Her interest in maps and poems is part of a project to define narrative ecology, which posits narratives as living systems that include the stories conveyed by physical environments and material items; that shape our experiences and also respond to our actions; and that persist in layered, multiple, dynamic forms.
Michelle Menting is the author Myth of Solitude (Imaginary Friend Press, 2013) and Residence Time (Dancing Girl Press, 2016). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cimarron Review, The Offing, The Southeast Review, The Hopper, and the Deep Water and American Life in Poetry columns, among other places. She lives in mid-coast Maine.
Margot Carpenter creates digital and print maps for a diverse market. She has made maps for the Maine Department of Transportation; recreation, tourism and environmental groups; and for books published by Downeast Books, Dutton, Simon & Schuster, and Falcon Press. Her business Hartdale Maps is in Belfast, Maine.
nest of yarn on Zia Rose’s lap
beaks of knitting needles
pecking mittens into being
* ice and wool
in murky chunks
inedible on mittens
mittens on the radiator
sun a hank of fire
on the horizon
the swifts are gone
but the blackbirds
murmur by the thousands
a succession or series of similar or interrelated things such as an incoherent skein of words
by the long stand of years
the theology of the sun
eruptions of wind
flowers bowing in the storm
listening to flesh
you draw closer
glisten with urgency
past the moon
swift with borrowed light
a flock of geese, ducks, or the like, in flight
low over Mansfield
coming together from three directions
three skeins of geese
the Chinese poets
might say they conduct a message
of love from afar
their boundless sound
the white flecks of their bellies
thrusting air up and down
your swift breathing
is the air
that reels me in
for Cathy O’Reilly
On a clear, warm summer day
Cathy handed me a prize
she’d received from the surf.
It was a vertebra,
from a fish I imagine,
about the size of the top of my thumb,
and so smooth,
so rounded by the sea,
it felt soft.
I was holding it this morning,
rubbing the tips of my fingers
all over its unlikely velvetiness,
when I noticed that if I held it
so that I could look through
the hole in its middle
it looked like a resplendent ear,
this one small piece
of something from the sea,
and now on dry land,
a separate entity,
a curio given by the ocean to Cathy
and by Cathy to me,
so that now when I’m alone in this room
I no longer worry
that when I speak into the nothingness of frustration
my words will go unheard
I was on my way into the gym and
heard the geese blaring before I saw them,
a skein from the west, the V visible
but ragtag. I was looking up now, and
from the east a second skein was coming,
their raucous clamor growing as they rammed
the first V, though “rammed” may not be the best
way to describe what I saw; it was more
like the calibration of clockworks, each
bird part of a pinion meshing with the
larger wheel, a gear-train powering south.
As one bird pulled in behind the other,
their heart rates slowed but their speed increased as
they slipstreamed across the January
sky; and then a third skein came barreling
in from the north, the third wheel in this huge
going-train, urging and gliding, every
goose baying a one note song millions of
years old; and below their riotous noise
the V appeared with the kind of wonder
that becomes visible only after
it has happened. And I was left standing,
my senses staggered, my spirit increased,
as in the distance their yawping became
quiet, their instinct, their impulse for south
moving them along, me waiting for spring,
the geese gone, their perfect escapement done.
John L. Stanizzi— author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, and Hallelujah Time! His poems have appeared in American Life In Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Tar River Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Rattle, and others. He teaches literature at Manchester Community College.
Anne Marble is a painter and monotype printmaker who lives in the Philadelphia area. Her background in biology and environmental planning often serves as a reference for her work in both media. She is also the founder of a non-profit organization supporting several rural schools in Cambodia. On her visits to Cambodia, she teaches printmaking to middle school students. She maintains an active studio in Norristown,
Birds modified from copyright http://fictionchick.deviantart.com/
Allen Kenneth Schaidle
For many climbers,
climbing becomes spiritual,
Not for me.
It’s just climbing rocks,
Big and small.
Finding beauty in the simplicity.
Life is complicated,
work is difficult,
and school is dense.
Sometimes even climbs can be, well, complicated too.
There’s anticipating travel logistics,
I want climbing to be transparent.
No grander meaning,
I’m already overwhelmed with life’s meanings.
I don’t want a relationship with because then I’ll take, take, take and never give enough.
I’m struggling with this.
Just leave it as it is.
“leave no trace.”
And climbing certainty isn’t art
because then it can be judged
and that causes rivalry.
I want climbing just as climbing rocks.
Just climbing rocks.
Allen Kenneth Schaidle is a diehard Midwestern, educator, and activist. He holds degrees from the University of Kansas, Columbia University, and the University of Oxford. A native of Metamora, Illinois, Allen considers the creeks and forests of central Illinois his boyhood home as he continues forward in his life.
Jesse May grew up on a small farm in the mountains of Virginia where his explorations of the farm and the surrounding woods were a constant. A large part of his exploration as a kid were supported by his Mom, who still supports his adventures to this very day. Recently, Jesse has been exploring South America, Northern California, Utah, and South Dakota with his camera, all while camping and still enjoying the outdoors as much as he did when he was growing up. It’s been a fun couple of years adventuring for Jesse, and he looks forward to at least a few more good years of seeing cool things. Jesse is a 2015 graduate of Unity College. You can follow him on Instagram.
You’ll never understand how
the knowledge comes to you—
the children naming animal tracks
at the river’s edge, the cribbage board
on the cooler—that you’ve come to love
someone who isn’t in the opposite chair
sipping their beer, their sunglasses
reflecting a mate who has been pulled
toward a different light, another coast.
Summer flows and dies around you.
A west wind summons a dust devil,
brings the smell of a distant wildfire.
The mews gulls and owls have fledged,
and autumn will bring darkness soon.
You play your cards, peg your points,
and yet the hands you use feel lighter,
filled with some strange gas, not bone,
and in your chest a foreign sun
burns fiercely with joy and despair.
The coming nova will swallow the orbits
of all the planets around you now,
the cards, the board, the river, the tracks.
Unthinkable. How do you participate
in what you never wanted to be real?
the one road heading north
deadends in Deadhorse
night spills into the next day,
there should be an end
Santa Claus stops at Deadhorse, too,
leaves eleven months later, full of schnapps
you tell me your mother walked out
you say you were too young
to pay attention, to notice your father
had taken to drinking
out of an old Christmas glass
three wise men, a baby,
and a star
you add these
to the list of places you can’t go back to
James Engelhardt’s poems have appeared in the North American Review, Hawk and Handsaw, ACM: Another Chicago Magazine, Terrain.org, Painted Bride Quarterly, Cirque, Ice Floe, and many others. His ecopoetry manifesto can be found at octopusmagazine.com. He is an acquisitions editor at the University of Illinois Press.
Linden Frederick is a full-time painter residing in the Belfast area of Maine since 1989. His subject matter is the American landscape at dusk or night, but with a cultural emphasis. For example, his 2004 one-person show MEMOIR was inspired by the small town where he grew up in upstate New York, and NIGHT NEIGHBORS (2010) by Belfast. A larger geography and therefore, different American sub-cultures, were explored in the shows AMERICAN NIGHTS (2002) and AMERICAN STUDIES (2008). Other recent one-person shows were NIGHT LIFE (2014) and PAINTING NOIR (2006). He has been invited to guest lecture and/or teach master classes at educational institutions. He is represented by Forum Gallery, NYC.
The evening opened with a feature reading from slam poet Robin Merrill, who will represent Maine at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California in August. Visit her at robinmerrill.com.
Lilace Mellin Guignard
What’s Fucked Up About Abundance
How in the midst of all those tomatoes
glowing red and orange in my backyard,
ripe and rotting in the raised 3×3 squares
I bowed my back filling, tilling, and weeding,
how in the bosom of late August
when their armies swarm my counters
and they roll off my sill—splat—into the sink,
how with the flavor of the hordes numbing
my tongue’s memory of winter when,
like mail order brides, I embrace cans
of diced and stewed from who-knows-where,
I lose each fruit’s singular beauty in the glare
of all there is to do—slicing, roasting,
freezing, boiling, canning—always pulling at me
like a million small children, or, let’s say, two
holding onto my legs, two perfect children
I’ve waited my whole life for clutching my legs
and the amazing—really—beefsteak of a man
I waited 30 years for (and would again)
reading Climbing magazine at the table
where he’s cleared a space for his beer
while I shuffle to the sink to lay
the knife down so I can pick the baby up,
how so much goodness doesn’t make me
thankful so much as frantic knowing
the rest of my life I must work to deserve it.
Lilace Mellin Guignard was a 2003-2004 recipient of a Nevada Artist Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Ecotone, Calyx, Rivendell, and ISLE, as well anthologies; her nonfiction has been published in Quarterly West, Santa Monica Review, and Orion Afield. Guignard’s research and academic articles focus on gender and outdoor spaces. She currently writes from her home in rural Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband, six-year-old son, and three-year-old daughter.
Naming the Trees
We are naming the trees as we walk, or trying to
name them—it is early spring,
no help from leaves,
though their shapes are etched on our minds,
their branching veins, the space between,
like my hand against your chest.
Only the texture of bark: smooth or rough, riveted, peeling,
or drawn with arching brows
(skepticism, perhaps, at our naming),
and their crowns: spreading or drooping, branches growing in whorls or
alternately, needles in groups of three
or five, or soft fronds of hemlock.
Oak (white), maple (red), birch (silvery yellow) and the smell
of wintergreen scratched open,
thumbnail to damp wood. We name them
because they tower over us, wave their myriad arms,
largest living things we see and don’t
see, here on the hills where they were logged, burned,
where, we remember, they marched back anyway, across the ashen slopes, saplings
cracking the rain-pocked earth, they split
themselves in all directions, stretched against sky, breathing
our breath. We are naming the trees
that have grown the perimeters of the burnt-out factory where sky
shouts through the windows
on the wall left standing,
the rest all ghosted and black, letters rubbed out from caving sides—
a wood treatment plant, hidden behind the barbed wire’s
curtain of climbing vines,
its bittersweet, honeysuckle, nostalgic and invasive: what strangles
the forest undoes this too, us, fenced in
and overcome with sweet blossoms and berries
and doomed as the gasping tree in bittersweet’s coil.
We are naming,
we are naming the trees before they walk away
because we are unlearning our forgetfulness,
because this time we are trying the opposite and taking our time,
and right now time loves us
because we just made love, late
this morning, slowly
waking each other up, without speaking,
yellow ribbons of light streaming in on our bodies, through branches
through slats of the shades, and then
we got up and went outside to name the trees: horse chestnuts
in front lawns, magnolia, crab apple still budless,
On the back of your hand, blue veins branch
like trees, like roots seeking water,
like the river that roils under the bridge
we are walking over, somewhere farther along,
where we could fish it, eat, not think
toxic silt, PCBs carried downstream.
Think: tree swallows in silver maples,
water-loving. We press
our hands against bark to print its pattern on our palms,
across our lifelines, grooved
skin and finger pads whorled to the center. I say
your name, and you turn
like a stalk toward the light. I love you.
There is no good reason
why any of this should be, which is why
we hold it in our mouths, turning it over. Today
we are naming the trees, calling them back to us.
Shagbark hickory, tamarack,
weeping willow and white pine.
Sugar maple, we say, and it is on our tongues:
Tap it now, in March,
the ground a mash of snow and mud, sap rising
from the roots, clear drop on the finger:
small sweetness we taste because we know it’s there.
Hannah Fries is associate editor and poetry editor of Orion and a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, Calyx, terrain.org, and other journals. She recently took part in an interdisciplinary artists’ residency focused on mine reclamation with the Colorado Art Ranch.