- Psalm 4, and: Psalm 7
Burning tree.Tree that does not burn.The ever kindling.Thing that should not talk,but does.
You are the only grace.
I stand in the fieldand stare into you.I stand on the edge.My face alight.
I am the unwelcome,but you do not judge me.Night comes and again.The sun changes its mood.
I tell you I am prettier in silence.You laugh, but don't tell me I am wrong.We both know your bushroots inside my body, that, in the end,I die singed.
What the hell—this dumb tongue is only a muscle.I will speak, but I will not lie.
I look up. The sky fliesround with blue birds.Or are those hawks?
Every one, your ear. [End Page 103]
All night, you dug holes.What were you looking for?A secret.
It was yours, but you called it mine.You said to me, you have a secret,your index finger in the air,your eyes squinting.
And I believed you.I made a flag of your resentment,your real treasure. I made a dress.
I was out of control and needed control.
a woman without a land.
a kettle boiling dry,a far away room.
a thousand fathers,two thousand eyes.
Inside me,Naomi and Ruth.
And still this—your tentacle hands.And still this—some of the hands are mine. [End Page 104]
Rebecca Gayle Howell is a writer and documentary artist. She is the author of The Hatchet Buddha (2007) and was the photographer for Arwen Donahue's This Is Home Now: Kentucky's Holocaust Survivors Speak (2009). Her documentary work on Eastern Kentucky's coal communities has been collected in Plundering Appalachia (2009) and The Artist as Activist in Appalachia (University of North Georgia Press), and her poems and essays have been widely published in journals. [email@example.com]