This piece is actually a companion piece to another poem published in Noble/Gas issue 203.4, “Aesculus Californica.”
“Blight” was written near the height of California’s worst drought on record, which spanned from 2011-2017. Everything was dead. The entire state looked and smelled like tinder. This period also happened to correspond with a number of significant losses in my life, including the death of my mother. At the time I wrote this poem, I was in the process of rebuilding and recovering from those losses. I was interested in the links between death, memory, rebuilding, and growth, and I kept noticing how exterior settings, like gardens and yards, were often excellent indicators of loss and mourning for the inhabitants of certain households. You can always tell when the person who tends the garden is gone. This was a poem about being a person that remains, about learning to create a home for one’s self after every sense of home feels irretrievably shattered.



Raised in the shadow of Houston refineries, Emily Pinkerton currently lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University, and her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, Anthropoid, BlazeVOX, Pith, Hobart, and LEVELER, among others. Her first chapbook, Natural Disasters, was recently published by Hermeneutic Chaos Press.

More of Emily’s publications can be found at thisisemilypinkerton.tumblr.com, and she tweets as @neongolden. Her favorite color is fog.