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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

Cristina Correa

A vessel carrying 300,000 barrels of fuel to Guayanilla, Puerto Rico is stalled

In the collapsed church
an organ swallows
rudderless notes
Repressed whine of gravity’s
slow burning wire
reminds return
to murmuring berth
A tethered boat
learning tight ropes
of hopeful void
The harbor of harp
and veins
future vibrates through
Listen for a way, suspension,
for bound music re-
imagines itself eternal
Plebiscite on truth:
the water snake’s tail
longs for its own teeth
Little white flares
to sink into
its drawn out
cord of oil—
to taste the free
beating star
of an anonymous heart

The Elements

Was anger the original spike
in defense of the blooming
cacti learning to hold its water?
Or was it born a red ripple
in seawall of muscle that didn’t stop
raging? When it took its first
shaken breath, was it siphoned
through a raw smile & too many teeth?
Crude pump of the bitter well,
fouled absence. Was it
a feebly erected structure
burning into the heap of its
flaming bones? Listen for the rib
of the mountain’s ancient scream—
Why is anything born like this?
Heaving for more air. Wild awake
through inherited lead lungs.
Powering a relentless motor.


Cristina Correa is a writer and educator from Chicago, where she served at-risk and marginalized communities for more than a decade. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Kenyon Review, CantoMundo, Hedgebrook Foundation, and Cornell University, among others. Her work has appeared in Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Missouri Review, Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, Best New Poets, and elsewhere.

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