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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

Abigail Carl-Klassen


Fix your face. I’m tired
of hearing you whine. Pinching

your lips, then bitching it stinks
like rotten eggs. You’re too old

to be told how money smells.
Listen up, Missy, ‘cause I am

only telling you once. I thank God
every day for the oil field. And you

better start. Before you get cut
down a notch. All the sudden

you think you’re too good for us
because some college boy told you

our money is dirty. He don’t know
honest work. I seen his hands.

Small Town Particle Acceleration

It’s ginning time again. When the seed is removed from the fluff

and the fine particles from chutes and conveyors rise and remain

in the atmosphere. Fibers suspended in orbit dim the lights

of tractors, combines, and module trucks that flash in the dark

along calcite paths and county roads to highway 180, where shift

crews in big metal buildings sleep on cots in the back room to save

money on gas. Even the office ladies pound out trucker logs and time

cards and cost reports and payroll checks ninety hours a week so men

who flop in motels and fifth wheels can follow the harvest, up from

the Rio across the South, and get cash. Three or four or five

thousand dollars stashed into secret compartments in their jackets.

Rolls of hundreds, taped tight, will pay their bills, until next year,

when the part-time teller girls, who come in after school, become

full-time teller girls who put in extra time on Saturdays to keep

the lines moving so the farmers, foremen, and hands can get back

to the fields where every single hour of every single day they strip

and pack and load and haul mountains of cotton that is not white,

but dingy. Gray, like diesel exhaust or the sky, ginned at night,

or the dust upon dust upon dust swept from every corner and crack.

Granny-Woman Witches for Water: Elk River Chemical Spill, West Virginia, January 2014

Hold that water glass
away from your body

like this—arm stretched
real far out, but you gotta


make it level. Right now,
you’re gonna feel nothin’

but wait a few seconds—
it’ll start workin’. If you feel it


pushin’ back at you, the energy
is positive, which is good, but if

it’s pullin’ away from you,
the energy is negative—that’s real


bad and you shouldn’t even
think about drinking it.


Abigail Carl-Klassen’s work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Catapult, Cimarron Review, Willow Springs, Guernica, Aster(ix) and Kweli, among others. She is a staff writer for Poets Reading the News and her chapbook Shelter Management will be released in late 2017 with dancing girl press. She earned an MFA from the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual Creative Writing Program and taught at El Paso Community College and the University of Texas El Paso.

Other works by Abigail Carl-Klassen »

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