Christopher Martin

Praise Song for Darkness
Little Scaly Mountain, North Carolina
Dark-eyed junco, spot of coalamong shed oak leaves and mast,dark as the eyes of the black bearforaging beneath twisted trees,looking up at me through leavesof windswept rhododendron.
Darkness is a bird namedfor its black eyes. Darkness,the feathers fixed upon the birdthat flow into the eyes of the blackbear looking up, watching me walk.
Darkness unto each other,the thoughts that passbetween these minds—
mind of bird,mind of bear,mind of mine.
for Thomas Rain Crowe

September 21, 2011
In Jackson, Georgia, on the banksof the mist-laden Towaliga River—Towaliga from the Muscogee,place of the scalp,
a man waits in a cell, sentencedto die with promiseof poison needle.
I stand here for him.I stand, crossed
by power lines,beside a truck stopon a hill by Highway 16
across which risesa wall of riot gear,paramilitary presenceamong the pines.
Above, a helicopter churnsand drowns voices singing
This little light of mine,drowns the light itself
filtering throughthe remnant woods.
In this placegiven to violenceand blood, I stand
watching childrenreach for dragonflies.
—for Troy Davis

Christopher Martin lives with his wife and their two children in Acworth, Georgia, and is pursuing an MA in Professional Writing at Kennesaw State University. Chris edits the online literary magazine Flycatcher: A Journal of Native Imagination, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in such publications as Shambhala Sun, Ruminate Magazine, Still: The Journal, American Public Media’s On Being blog, New Southerner, and Drafthorse, among others. He is a frequent contributor to Loose Change Magazine. Chris’s first chapbook of poetry, A Conference of Birds, is forthcoming with New Native Press in early 2012.