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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

Sandra Alcosser


If we wash our legs with frozen water

Watch it rill down hairy flesh – oh the power

Of the body to refresh – to lie down at night

Wake again among harebells and bees, lichen

Speckled boulders, mists of sweet white

Clover – if we cock our pollen hats

Like Leonardo da Vinci and sketch

Riffles come to nurse the thirsty

Rubble, we can lean back, sieve

Our tea among secretive

Rocks – soak away the meanness

Of a year’s duplicity – no one can reach

Us here – no human noise –

A river will gentle the cruelest voice


From under water and under tar

Down from the walls of caves

They came  The biologist made

A circle with her arms

That calf’s heart must have weighed

Twenty-five pounds she said — Deep inside

Each bison there is a bible

Otherwise how could they survive

Our bullets and cliffs

Our cities and flames

Our soups simmering

With the heads of their babies

Each mother grazing patiently —

A ton of flesh made of grass blades


Sandra Alcosser’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She received two individual artist fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, and her books of poetry, A FISH TO FEED ALL HUNGER and EXCEPT BY NATURE, received the highest honors from National Poetry Series, Academy of American Poets and Associated Writing Programs, as well as the Larry Levis Award and the William Stafford Award for Poetry. She was the National Endowment for the Arts’ first Conservation Poet for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Poets House, New York, as well as Montana’s first poet laureate. She directs SDSU’s MFA each fall, edits Poetry International and is a Visiting Faculty at Pacific University.

Other works by Sandra Alcosser »

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