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“The Green Man” by Amy Leach

May 6, 2020

"[She writes] in the contagious kind of way that should renew anyone's love of language," Jon McGregor recommends Amy Leach's essays in the Guardian. Whether she is writing about pea tendrils or the mesquite tree as in "The Green Man" from A Public Space No. 25, she "manages to assert that desire is what makes all living things both alive and in peril." You can find more of her essays in A Public Space <a href=""No. 02.

Amy Leach is the author of Things That Are (Milkweed). Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, and she has been recognized with a Whiting Award and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. She lives in Montana.


"I will not let thee go except thou bless me."

For all the trumpets and slippers and stars popping out of the ground right now, you’d think the Earth was stocked with flowers, that underneath the surface was a flower warehouse, pallets of poppies stacked on pallets of phlox; and if you could only find the entrance, you’d discover employees down there fluffing and freshening the inventory, forklifting the pallets around and slipping the flowers up through the dirt as soon as it gets Aprilly-warm. Where are things housed if not in warehouses?

But the Earth is not full of flowers, but schist and samarskite and skulls, and hardpan so infernally dense it cracks your pick axe and then your crowbar, shatters your jackhammer, your million-pound excavator, and finally your two-million-pound excavator, after it tries to pull the smaller one out, spurts oil from its splitter box and kicks the bucket too.

Earth is a frustrating substrate to live on, by Gog—not just for jackhammers and excavators but also for little mesquite beans plopped down in the desert. Whose fiendish joke is it, to drop them onto a griddle and bid them grow? But it is not a fiend but a cow, and the cow is not making a joke, just a turd; then off she ambles with all her cares. The bean must be its own bidder, its own shovel and shoveler, and its own yardstick, measuring the distance to the water with itself.

Read on.

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