The Good Earth

The Good Earth by Katie Eberhart was published in the Elohi Gadugi Journal, Intersections & Transitions issue, Winter 2014.

The Good Earth 
by Katie Eberhart

We climbed Smith Rock and there were peo­ple
in the mouth of the stone pil­lar—
Mon­key Face. To get there you go by
Ter­re­bonne. From the high­way you think

“this is a hard-stressed landscape,
an agglomeration without name brands”

but after climbing the steep switchback trail
to the top of Smith Rock and descending
the other side—from above—looking across
the Crooked River

you see beautiful land. Terre bonne—
manicured and irrigated fields, rows of trees, houses.
Roads curve sinuously and overhead a peregrine soars—
and vultures.

And later, between river and cliffs
where swallows’ mud nests stick to stone ceilings
and white smudged handprints trace
the climbers’ vertical routes,
I stand barefoot in the Crooked River.

A boy who had been swimming says
“the crawdad is coming for you.”

Underwater, pincers and claws scuttle
toward my feet or—my feet happen to be
in the crawdad’s path—the crawdad chasing
a flock of little fish—the fish now hiding
in a forest of reeds—and all

—like us—going somewhere.

. . . peo­ple in the mouth of . . . Mon­key Face. . . .
Smith Rock State Park.
Photo by Katie Eberhart.