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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

Pamela Ahlen

Pamela Ahlen
(Kasha Katuwe, near Pueblo de Cochiti, New Mexico)
We enter
a canyon sanctum,
what wind and water
cut deep, our quiet procession
along the mile-long slot,
widening enough
for one thin man,
up and out,
hand to handhold
onto a flattened ridge.
Before thought,
before words,
earth let loose
a conflagration
like spewed hosannas
of ash, pumice, obsidian tears,
an incandescent avalanche
molded into cones—
colossal white cliffs
top-capped in turrets,
Still for once, we sit—listen
to wallflowers and Manzanita, the wind—
some turrets have tumbled,
boulders bottomed one thousand feet below
and left to crumble,
vanish into the next million years.
There’s religion here
our bones can hear,
this place having something to say—
pale trumpets, rock wrens
trying to say it.
Pamela Ahlen is a retired music educator and currently program coordinator for Bookstock (Woodstock, Vermont), one of three Vermont literary festivals. She organizes literary readings for Osher (Lifelong Education at Dartmouth). Pam received an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poems have most recently appeared in Bloodroot, Blue Line, Birch Song, Bohemia and The Sow’s Ear. She is the author of the chapbook Gather Every Little Thing (Finishing Line Press).


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