10 Most Sacred Spots on Earth
The patch of lawn
beneath the backyard tree
where you turned your first soil,
laid your first seeds and hopes,
that you bless with your watching.
The bathtub: made and installed
circa 1925. It holds the whole
of you and bubbles, beside…
In the flat centre of an archipelago’s
a house with a set of stairs
that leads nowhere awaits you.
Climb them, and look up.
The after-hours silence
of the office. A chair that knows
your shape too well.
Your fingers flying at the keys.
If you lay a candle on the shore
the whole ocean
is made holy.
The birthmark on your lover’s chest,
worthy of pilgrimage.
Is Oz on earth?
Blood-blessed Jerusalem –
its sand-seared deserts; the cutting light.
Four naked women stand waist-deep
in the Aegean, laughter unchained
from their throats. They consecrate the sea.
Beside your kitchen sink, a sprout
breaks through soil into air
and wonder takes root in you.
The world awaits your blossoming.
Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press, 2014). She holds an MFA in Poetry and a graduate certificate in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University, and an MA in English and Creative Writing from Iowa State University. Alleyne’s fiction, non-fiction, interviews, and poetry have been widely published in journals and anthologies such as Women’s Studies Quarterly, Guernica, The Caribbean Writer, Black Arts Quarterly, The Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gathering Ground, and Growing Up Girl, among others. Her work has earned several honors and awards, most recently the Picador Guest Professorship in Literature at the University of Leipzig, Germany, a 2014 Iowa Arts Council Fellowship, and a 2010 Small Axe Literary Award. Alleyne is a Cave Canem graduate, and is originally from Trinidad and Tobago. She is currently the Poet-in-Residence, and an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Dubuque in Iowa.
Mari Hailu is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University where she simultaneously received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Winner of the faculty-nominated 2014 Margaret Terry Crooks Award for Outstanding Creative Writing, and the David R. Russel Poetry Prize, Mari is grateful to be able to share her words with her community. She is a Managing Editor of The Wardrobe, a blog series affiliated with Sundress Publications, and in her spare time she enjoys playing music at local venues.