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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

Hannah Dierdorff

Double Sonnet with My Shirt Off

To assess a fire, define mortality

for the forest’s basal area, the area

in square feet at the cross-section at breast

height of a single tree. See the tangerine


walls bleeding around the mirror where

my sister and I compare our teenage breasts,

perplexed by these new signs of likeness

and difference—the blue-green veins and dusty-


pink nipples, the size, the shape, the weight of fat

hanging over the ribcage, each breast its own

iteration of earth’s atomic speech. O see


the women directed to stand beside the pines,

their breasts pendulous as plastic bags or firm

as rubber, breasts pointing to every star


on the compass, breasts purple, pitch, or parakeet

green, chests zipped shut with scars, with heavy dashes

where breasts once “O”ed the world open, ballooned

with milk or held in the mouth of love, breasts off-


centered, oblong, amorphic, breasts like two

barely raised dots read by moving the hand

across a page, breasts with faces bent or raised

like nuns toward the unseen, breasts like


snippers, their gaze level, each nipple an eye,

a scope through which the body aims. See

the foresters mark where the tissue meets


the rash-red bark, see the machine calculate

the meeting and print basal, blazon,

a blaze on the USDA report page.

A Feminist Field Guide

among: of the local relation of a thing girl

to several surrounding objects beings

from the old english in the crowd or company of


among bobcat big-eared bat muskrat moose

chipmunk striped skunk rock chuck raccoon

cottontail black bear cougar snowshoe hare

meadow vole gray wolf mule deer masked shrew


among deer fly horse fly paper wasp hobo

swallowtail jewelwing praying mantis painted lady

pine beetle pine borer boxelder black widow

western white cabbage white twice-stabbed lady


among rainbow trout stickleback black crappie

largemouth bass bluegill brown bullhead pumpkinseed

mountain sucker whitefish walleye white crappie

(chinook and coho gone after the dam at grand coulee)


among western garter snake western skink american bullfrog

among great basin spadefoot among columbia spotted frog

among painted turtle rattlesnake northern leopard frog

among western tiger salamander among pacific tree frog


among western skink western bluebird golden eagle pacific loon

among cliff swallow violet-green swallow great blue heron canadian goose

among yellow warbler red-winged blackbird wood duck rock wren

among hermit thrush peregrine nighthawk kestrel merlin


cooper’s hawk among swainson’s hawk among swainson’s thrush among lincoln’s sparrow

harris’s sparrow among lewis’s woodpecker among williamson’s sapsucker among clark’s grebe

wilson’s warbler among wilson’s snipe among brewer’s blackbird among brewer’s sparrow

cassin’s finch among steller’s jay among say’s phoebe


with phoebe, my sister, i grow, animal among animals,

eye among eyes, gold leaf and clear glass,

tessera, tesserae, o little i let in this light


Originally from Spokane, Washington, Hannah Dierdorff is a recent graduate of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Virginia, where she taught writing and poetry. Her work has appeared in the Worcester Review, Cut Bank, Dogwood, and Permafrost.

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