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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

Amanda Lewan


Amanda Lewin


The abandoned neighbor
is knee-high grass,
cracked steps and
gutted windows.

An emptied house
beside our garden
blends together
the living and the leftover.

Our grape leaf vine weaves

between metal chains
linked as a border.

This land lends its soil
to the carefully placed stony paths,
the red-ripe tomato plants,
the old family
still raising, still rising,
the grape leaves she plucks,
tucks, and rolls

for Sunday supper.



South Wall Panel – Detroit Industry Mural – Diego Rivera


Diego Rivera Murals. Detroit.

Dawn brushes the light
across these parks.
They arrive in droves

beneath morning sun.

Their hands,
hands dirt black
oil-stained by midday,
lift and pull across the hours.

The passing of parts,
silver clink,
cough and

The engine breathes a rumble.

Fire melts, steam rises,
a pain in the back
no longer the flat
lean of an edge,
but an arch of ache–
the end of the workday.

The evening smoke is
ashy puffs in the sky,
another layer over
the dirt grey of machines
the clay, the creation.



He dreamt of desert,
the wide open space,
vast land of heat
and dried tangerine.

He imagined this block
where grassy fields spread over
plotted land. Each one a figure
emptied by the soul that grew
out and away.

He thought preparation is an idea
that shades this side of the blade
or the next.

He slept silently,
dreamt he could dip his arms

into the pillow sky,
lay back and float
with the churn of blue,

find peace.

He awoke to the rocking of landing.
He couldn’t see much
out of the oval window,
soldiers in the distance and
the reaching arm of the plane.
He imagined cool shade
somewhere distant below.

Author Biography

Amanda Lewan is currently a graduate student at Wayne State University in Detroit where she is finishing her creative thesis, a collection of fiction short stories. She has previously been published in The Nation and The Offbeat literary magazine.  Her poetry currently focuses on exploring the spaces of post-industrialist Detroit and the war in Afghanistan.


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