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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

Stephanie Heit


I touch sand origins
wave crash
grit laced between my toes
fossils broken

quartz   feldspar   mica
beach sparkle!
harvested glass poured


hybrid transparency

solid crystalline order

liquid molecular randomness

no divide out to in skin

sun dashes through

voices travel past

cool spot to rest


take the
outdoor pulse

window snot guard to the world

amorphous solid face mask

eyes of every shade age species

watch spring arrive

frozen we’ve taken the prey stance

coronavirus predator molecules luminous lasso

replicators spike proteins hijack cells

ordered bodies shelter

we hold
our breaths
close in our soft sad lungs
pleural sac hope

we shut mouth nose
eyeball shifts viscous fluid observation game

click gallery view to see the participants in a zoom somatics class

screen liquid crystals light emit diodes pixels  

red blue green

lysol wipes decontaminate images
from touch

sense vibrations

all those molecules buzz configure alternatives

virtually we lick the grass
virally we smell hyacinth pinks purples

hear the grasp of hands
lean of chests


I smash my body against the window

Almost Spring

she traces the outline of the sapling tree

caresses trunk easily encircled in one hand

slender growth rings bark fleck texture

extends arms to mirror offshoot branches

eager to increase latitude and embark in sky

gently she leans then rocks her winter bare limbs


when she touches me our skin communicates in heat

small fires of contact we keep in check

rhythms to other blues to the light past spring

equinox lengthening we quicken our saps

rising anti-gravity to beckon green

Genus Matteuccia

fiddlehead I approach you gently

limber to erase my tracks

revise my introduction shuttlecock

make my edges feather ostrich kin

imagine my feet rhizomatic

brown prickly mounds home base

sandy soil happy

foreground limbic

spore prehistories

remember spring fronds

newborn woodshade green

touches yellow matures bold

trace your shadow

delicate curves reach

dentured teeth line your stems

vascular structures

humid inhale mossy


spines unfurl

nautilus wise

don’t worry

I’m not hunting

fiddlehead recipes

no harvest in your future

nor the mishap clip sorry

with the lawnmower

you alchemize climate change rain

into “never before” heights

crown the undergrowth and queen

resilient dinosaur royal foliage

late summer brush bare thighs

fan the warming air

museum of dew

each dawn your vibrating arms

we quiver


Stephanie Heit is a poet, dancer, and teacher of somatic writing and contemplative movement practices. She is a Zoeglossia Fellow, bipolar, a mad activist, and a member of the Olimpias, an international disability performance collective. Her poetry collection, The Color She Gave Gravity (The Operating System 2017) was a Nightboat Poetry Prize finalist and explores the seams of language, movement, and mental health difference. Her current poetic inquiry, High Water Detours, documents through somatic engagement the effects of Lake Michigan’s rising waters. Her work has appeared in Ecotone, Anomaly, Bombay Gin, Midwestern Gothic, Clade Song, Lime Hawk, Dunes Review, Typo, and Disability Studies Quarterly. She lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she creates Turtle Disco, a somatic writing space, with her wife and collaborator, Petra Kuppers.

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