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The Root of Travel

is trepalium, ancient engine
of torture for dissenters and enemies
of the state. In the early years
of Christianity, the device required
three stakes: one in the ground,
two in the shape of an X to hold
the arms and legs in place. It was
a chiasma, a crossing, a shape so seductive
that clerics had to be prohibited
from watching the punishment.
When I walked past the stakes
that grounded the vineyard, my world
was all mobility, all freedom,
all blue sky and green grape leaves,
and then, when I came home, I saw
that the photo told a different story.
Together, the stakes stand
like witnesses to what has crossed
here, mute and fruitless; indeed,
nature is sad because it is mute.











Joanne Diaz is the author of two poetry collections, The Lessons and My Favorite Tyrants. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches literature and creative writing at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Twitter: @JoanneDiaz72
Instagram: @joannediaz2195


Jason Reblando is an artist and photographer whose work is in the collections of the Library of Congress, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His monograph, New Deal Utopias (Kehrer Verlag) was published in 2017. He teaches photography at Illinois State University.

Twitter: @JasonReblando
Instagram: @jjrebs