Note from the Editors

 

   SEEING RED 

    ENDU(RED) ADMI(RED)
    DESI(RED) WONDE(RED)
    RUMO(RED) ADO(RED)
    ENAMO(RED) INSPI(RED)
    DISCOVE(RED) SAC(RED)
    HUNGE(RED) WONDE(RED)
    EXPLO(RED) FEATU(RED)
    AUTHO(RED) SEA(RED)
    DA(RED) UNCENSO(RED)
    SOA(RED) ADVENTU(RED)

 

 

    


Designed by:
SiteGround web hosting Joomla Templates
PDF Print E-mail

Mine


Sometimes I recognize a mineshaft when I see it;
sometimes it takes days, weeks, clearer eyes
than these to guide me to that deep
flaw in the hill, that opening disguised
by fern or weed, or the use of every day.
But when I find it, that’s when everything starts
again:  when the blood begins to climb
to the beat of the quest, the dark
measures of creation, imagination,
frustration, the question of what kind
this one will be.  Diamonds are the easy
guess, valueless but for good advertising, defined
by the wide agreement that shine is beautiful;
but there are stranger riches, masked
by what’s easy, by old stories of treasure.
Would you tell me, if I knew how to ask,
what’s in you?  Maybe you’re gold, and to use
you I’d have to leach arsenic into the ground.
Maybe you’re salt, adding taste to a broccoli world,
and would burn like it too, if I splashed you on a wound
to fight its festers.  Or maybe you’re potash, good
to grow sweeter tomatoes (indeed, I haven’t been
fertilized like this in a long time.)  But I’m inclined
to think you’re more like anthracite, the unseen
knots and lines of blind coal that were once leaves
and vines, fused together in the fissures
of the earth by a few thousand millennia
of implacable—don’t we all know it—pressure.
I’m inclined to think you’re made to burn
like coal as well as salt:  maybe you know Centralia,
Pennsylvania, where a black vein
has been smoldering under fire-pink and azalea
since 1962.  That town has died.
So far I haven’t, though I've wandered through
many a mine, and breathed enough white damp
to suffocate a man; I watch you
with caution, but also with the fascination
everyone has for the latent and hidden, seeking a sign
of what lies underneath,  drawn one more time
to delve the carbon joys of what’s not mine.


Catherine Carter was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and raised there by wolves and vultures, but now she lives in Cullowhee, North Carolina, and works in the English Education program at Western Carolina University.  Her books include The Swamp Monster at Home (LSU, 2012) and The Memory of Gills (LSU, 2006), and a chapbook Marks of the Witch (Jacar Press, 2014).   Her work has also appeared in Poetry, Orion, Ploughshares, and Best American Poetry 2009, among others.


next  table of content