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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

The Yucca Moth

The white moths move

from colorless flower

to colorless flower,


following a coded scent

to the plant that supplies

the pollen they feed on.


Over slow centuries the yucca

formed its offerings

to this single moth.


The young moths bury themselves

beneath the bell-shaped flowers

to wait for a wet year


in which the blooming yucca

feeds the next generation

of its pollen-bearers.


The plants’ pollen is carried

only by this moth.

It is only this plant the moth grows on.


They continue through each other.

In the dark the yucca moth

leaves the flower it was born in.

The Animals There

There are animals in the desert
that no longer allow themselves

finding what moisture
they require
in stored nuts and seeds,

residing among roots that offer
the sanctity
of darkness,

never needing to look
for the scant water
we cannot live a day without.


Michael Battisto is a poet and chef. Born in Chicago, he lived in New York, Wyoming, Arizona and Texas. Now he lives and works in Oakland, California.

Other works by Michael Battisto »

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