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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

Michael Battisto

Conflict of Water

The dust roads we walk on
are slowly
removing our feet.

In the half light the last animals
are pressing their forms
into the riverbed.

When the mountains arrive
the night will begin
its subtractions.

In the quiet the trees
put down their voices.
The river is empty.

In the ending desert
the witnesses remove their eyes
from the blank hill

and ask
where their water has gone.

The Wall

The centuries are resting
in their final songs
slow hymn we wake to

when night has no purpose
but to describe the glass wall
being built in the south by men

who claim their actions accord
with a vast algebra
we cannot comprehend

whose words descend the billboards
in every direction
except the mountains

with their eyes in their pockets
they ask us to think
of necessity

as they divide
every western river
from its origin

and lead
the diminished forests
to their silence


Michael Battisto (he/him) has work that can be found or forthcoming in About Place Journal, The Shore, MoonPark Review, Frogpond, and Modern Haiku. Born in Chicago, he lived in New York, Wyoming, Arizona and Texas. Now he lives in Oakland, California. He loves it when people say hello to him on Twitter.

Other works by Michael Battisto »

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