Reckoning 5 Submission Call – Poetry

For Reckoning 5, I’m looking for poems which move in concert with fiction editor Cécile Cristofari’s call for work that spotlights the moments of environmental beauty we’re living in right now, holding close to our hearts, or carefully cultivating in the back corner lot twice a day, on the way to and from the streetcar.

The little seed you’re carrying around, waiting to replant. The spaces cupped full of joy in motion. Something holy in your pocket; a little-god reminder of why we do the work and what’s worth working for. That which is coming. That which has been quietly growing all along. That which is beautiful amidst the noise—all seen through the lens of environmental justice.

I have a soft spot for formal poetry done in a way where your voice slips free, but would love to see your free verse, translations, little epics, concrete poetry, speculative poetry, all the things I couldn’t even think up right now to list, and most importantly, the unique texture of your own voice.

If you’re working in a form or tradition you aren’t sure I’ll culturally grasp: please, tell me about it in your cover letter. I’ll ask the followup questions necessary to meet you halfway.

I will consider exceptional work that falls slightly outside of the theme or spins it in unexpected ways as long as it stays firmly centred on the topic of environmental justice.

Up to five poems per submission welcomed, and thank you in advance for your work.

Read the full guidelines and submit here. And Cécile Cristofari’s call for fiction and nonfiction is here.

The Dream of the Wood

the night of the windstorm

the city swayed


steel branches wrapped in old concrete


the leaves fall in strict equations:

material tolerance plus environmental

pressure plus the work of builders’ hands.


in the morning, we count cracks:

birch lines in the drywall laid bare

for the deer. the corner panhandler lost

his hat in the night. spare change, a nickel

a quarter a dollar? I put palms to the sidewalk

and feel for roots, crouched, bent small,

parting rush-hour rivers of feet.


in the valley, the river wound round the birch, half in,

half out of water. the squirrels crept back to their nests

lean and loud, whistling as they gathered new twigs.

the muskrats drained burrows below, mirroring:

one crown wide, and one buried.


there are cracks in the city. we all feel it:

the thin drafts blowing through. in the wind,

I spread hands rootlike through the soil

and dream of changing: from our rusted degradation

point to tough green wood, flexed, bowed, unbreaking.


I can feel it coming, love, like the first

of spring: smoother, softer, here I go,

stretching hands-first into something

that bends, and then stands.