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Sunday, April 29, 2007


by Leigh Herrick

I am sitting outside sometime past 10:00 pm with a candle and incense to help ward off mosquitoes. The electricity has been off for well over an hour. The solar lanterns light the yard. A poor little moth has just drowned in hot wax. Night bugs always come to light. A cricket sings near the strawberry patch. Time is stilled. I think: The sound of Many Mothers lives in my throat. A slight breeze moves the chimes that touch and ring their soft resounding. I have not felt this content in a very long time. This is how I used to feel, how it used to be: my sense of wonder at small things, uncounted time
We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of the liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America
:a feeling of oneness with place.
The natural world gives comfort like a pleasant memory. Last night I heard a crow caw out in perfect son clavé. Sitting here, now, this little cricket trills its near-perfect 6/8. Africa. I look to the dead moth. "It isn’t enough,” I tell it, “the abolition of cruelty.* I want more," I whisper to its molten float. "I want the disestablishment of the inhumane.” I whisper my terms toward the silent flame into the natural black of night hoping the moth didn't suffer. I wonder at my certainty and doubt. Did I never believe? Or had I simply forgotten from where I had come....

*Adrienne Rich, “USonian Journals 2000,”
in The School Among the Ruins: Poems 2000-2004.

Leigh Herrick is the creator of the embedded poem, a new form meant to draw attention to not just what she calls the "New War Journalism" but to the layered meanings and interpretations able to occur in time and place, often relying on parallel or multi-factional structure. Herrick is the recipient of several poetry awards and, in addition to the 2004 release of her CD Just War, has poetry or essays most recently appearing or forthcoming in: Howling Dog Press, Kalliope, MARGIE, and Unlikely Stories. Her CD is available through CD Baby or at request by emailing PrairieRecords(at) with "Just War CD" in the Subject line.