by Naomi Anna Kimbell

I remember the scent of moss and mold and worm-dug holes deep below a tree where once I thought I’d make a home. Forest floor, cold under night. Stars’ quiet fire, the only light to light the way. Darkness is simple in the forest, and hunger is just emptiness. I reached for nothing and found nothing and grasped that nothingness whole, and I imagined I had no place, no home, no city, not even ruins, and I closed my eyes against the dark and the cold and hid in the arms of the earth, rock-breath and mud-mouth tangling the hair my human mother had tried to smooth, and the sea change came over me, that animal unmaking that feeds small lives fat on bodies in the ground. My first earth lessons were taught on my mother’s lap, by her hands at a pottery wheel, her hands and mine on the clay, feeling the thing that needed to be made reaching from the slab. Whatever we would become, we already were—clay and child, cup and hands, dirt-kin, soil-souled, mother, daughter, skin, bones.

Naomi Anna Kimbell earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana in 2008. Her writing has been published in the Iowa Review, Black Warrior Review, The Baltimore Review, The Indiana Review, Crazyhorse, Calyx, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, and other journals and anthologies.

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