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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Elizabeth Jacobson

Eye of a Storm

We should all have pockets for our feelings

the way True’s beaked whales have pockets for their fins

and can tuck them in for efficient movement during diving.

Each speck of cosmic dust has an eye like a tropical cyclone,

distinctive the way snowflakes have their own fragile patterns,

which feel nearly human to those who gravitate

toward tender melting things.

Most everything feels human

to a human. Art is about something the way a cat

is about the house, said Allen Grossman, wise poet

of the personal. His feelings are about us All, the way a street light

in Italy is about a drinking fountain under a tree in Milwaukee.

Nick Cave uses buttons and plastic and faux fur,

says his sculptural work is like a second skin that hides gender, race, class.

All our colors named to explain ourselves to our selves. My feelings—

red in tooth and claw— for this primate in a tiny glass cage

who has been experimented on, are hanging all over

my mind in tufts and blisters the way the fur,

and the skin underneath the fur, is hanging all over

this creature’s body. His penis is raw with open sores.

We see him considering the lens of the camera,

and then the person filming— won’t you help me?

And then more videos pop up on my laptop, more

tortured animals, their horns torn off, their abdomens knifed—

insides pulsing— the storming eyes ceaseless, cochineal.

Sonnet in Bird Minor

There was an actual bird in the yard today.


It landed on top of one of the dead aspens.


A desiccated looking creature with no feathers on its head.


It may have been an evening grosbeak, a male,


its underbelly practically golden,


but with a horrendously large, bloody-red colored beak.


There’s no precipitation anywhere—


the poor thing leapt from the tree


and pecked at a withered crabapple


which had been on the ground for years.


I went out with a saucer of recycled water


and frightened the fragile creature who


flew quickly to what it presumed was safety


in the reflection of my sliding glass door.


Elizabeth Jacobson was the fifth Poet Laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico and an Academy of American Poets 2020 Laureate Fellow. Her most recent book, Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air, won the New Measure Poetry Prize, selected by Marianne Boruch (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press, 2019), and the 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for both New Mexico Poetry and Best New Mexico Book. Her other books include Her Knees Pulled In (Tres Chicas Books, 2012), two chapbooks from Dancing Girl Press, Are the Children Make Believe? (2017) and A Brown Stone (2015), and the anthology, Everything Feels Recent When You’re Far Away, Poetry and Art from Santa Fe Youth During the Pandemic (2021), which she co-edited. Elizabeth is the Reviews Editor for the on-line literary journal She teaches poetry workshops regularly in the community.

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