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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

Section 1: Fearless Like Song

Purvi Shah

Purvi Shah
You birth a mythology in red
Survival is not a habit. It is, she
admits, a surrender. At an edge
of your night shudders – ants
ferry across confines, eager
to assert
their allotment
to bear, to sort, to deliver, to die – to be
reborn. You carve stars
as a saint’s trapeze, suspend
ropes, a harness. The others
call to you: Meena, bring us
splendor, a bridge spun
of salmon-dust, a road
molt of pigeon song, shoulder
this deluge. Before
the ocean painted
blue, an invisible
brew of life, molting. Red.
You seek the first avatar. This woman rising
quests not for a consort
but for limitless ground, for feet
elongated & weightless, for feet
that can somersault
to gills & wings, to travel never-
known seas, for seas
never known until she
travels them. She
challenges: Let
the dynamite blow. Let
the rains clock. Let the books
stagnate at ocean’s floor. Let the earth tremble
in submersion, creation
and creation, again.
Purvi Shah inspires change as a non-profit and media consultant, anti-violence advocate, and writer. In 2008, she won the inaugural SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award for her leadership fighting violence against women. During the 10th anniversary of 9/11, she directed Together We Are New York, a community-based poetry project to highlight Asian American voices. Terrain Tracks is her award-winning book of poetry. She is known for her sparkly eyeshadow and raucous laughter. Discover her work at or @PurviPoets.



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