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Magnolia

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I. Forsythia immemorial, daffodils and primrose seethe unaware contentment at being alive, as if it’s just another spring— but my seasons of loss keep increasing. Wresting myself from the meat hooks, I climb from the depths like Inanna. Cracked open hard ancient ground beneath my feet flies apart. I lay out a path, repurposed mismatched flagstones, uneven, ill-fitting winding... Read More

Naming the Animals

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I found the video of the lambing to be a bit gross, with the blood and amniotic fluid gushing onto the hay and dirt. I was OK with the elephant birth as long as the sound was off. Two-year-old Clara couldn’t get enough of either. When I first showed her a video of a human birth—a peaceful home water birth—she watched mesmerized and then cut in, “All done! All done! All done!”... Read More

Conchology

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for John, Katie, and Kelly You do not have to walk miles of shoreline or pick the tide’s fresh crush with foot and eye to find it: a conch shell, pink-lipped and rimed with salt. It has long been inside of you, a whorl waiting to be pressed to an ear. Listen— do you hear the distant murmur of the one who has emptied you? Some days are filled with the whisperers of despair: a... Read More

Lukewarm Coffee at a Blue Desk in Michigan

Lukewarm Coffee at a Blue Desk in Michigan - A Poem by Kristin Brace

Words curdle. Words evaporate. Words reconstitute in the scent of strong coffee,         in the kicked-up odor of wet, decaying leaves     present even in summer outside these city walls. Our words were never     our         words. The hand     can... Read More

A Handful of Water

A Handful of Water - Essay by Alissa Herbaly Coons

Home I It begins with language—the sounds, the words, the songs I heard in my parents’ voices before I could imagine any place beyond my mother’s body, back when I was as untraveled as my own baby is now—before books, before maps, before any of the abstractions that have carried me to where I now sit, nursing my second born in Bar Beach, Australia. The euphoria and fatigue... Read More

Somewhere in Newfoundland

Somewhere in Newfoundland - Poem by Kristin Brace

swims a body of water marked Disappointment Lake. It could be that it’s unimpressive, but I’d like to think it was named for holding lost hopes, for welcoming wanderers who carry broken dreams like stones in their hands. It’s a lovely lake, really, with mist slinking in like a prodigal cat each morning, creeping over the surface and resting its head on the pine-soft shore. It’s... Read More

A Path and a Purpose

A Path and a Purpose - Essay by Ann Fitzmaurice

The national park ranger referred to the elk’s mating call as a bugle. I thought of a small boy with a toy and then also of a soldier blowing a horn to wake the troops. A bugle requires an instrument. The elk provides his own instrument. Cree Indians call elk wapiti, which translates to white rump. The white rumps’ mating season in Yellowstone takes place over a six-week period... Read More

Juice

Juice, A Poem by Joel Kurz

Her words take me from what I’m reading to find out what I’d like to drink. Apple juice, I answer, then take the can and look to see that’s all it is. The label informs me that the contents of this twelve-ounce can come from the U.S.A., Argentina, Austria, Chile, China, Germany, and Turkey. What I would like to drink, I think, is the juice of apples from the same orchard— to... Read More

Climbing Buttes

Climbing Buttes - Poem

I climb buttes. I press my feet into bentonite clay, scrape my sandals against scoria, pull sage from the side of the tombstones of the Rockies. I carry bourbon in my backpack, add a single droplet of muddied river water to my drink— a bourbon and branch, my trophy when I ascend this prairie mountain. I drive dusty rock roads, sweeping through carpeted clover. I dive into the... Read More

Prairie

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O Wheat and Barley, if we did not cut the prairie each year, your roots would be deeper than Alaska snow and wider than our throats. Why can’t we plant and not uproot. In every leafy stalk, in every sugar grain, let the words be etched, how I still love. The wind feathers through the plains and even lays some stalks to their sides, but still there is no chaff expelled, the roots... Read More