Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Alis Grave Nil

in Politics by

mango marigold tiger
distill sun          flower countries
              of wind
until the lightest riot
              constellates sacred firs

orange stars tremble needles
              wreathe puddles and pond edges
thrill busloads of your children
              and your impossible aunts

what do you love

              the administration
says bisect flyway and floodplain
              flatten them wall them dam them light them so stark everything

                            dies in the glare

what do you love

              the guardians
say plant slender-leaved milkweed
              grow goldenrod, lantana, purple sage
nurse forage and nectar
              everywhere you can

everyone can heal

              nothing is heavy

or shall we mourn our billion monarch
              ghosts, shall we end them all, one small form
after another, drifting

              and the tortoises, the horny toads, the indigo snakes,
the ocelots, the pygmy owls, the pronghorns —

              what do you love

walls or life.


Elizabeth Kuelbs writes and mothers at the edge of a Los Angeles canyon. She holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can find more of her work in The Timberline Review, The Poeming Pigeon, Minerva Rising, Cricket, Plum Tree Tavern, and elsewhere. She is a Pushcart nominee, and the author of an upcoming chapbook, How to Clean Your Eyes (Dancing Girl Press, 2019.)

Photo by Kristel Hayes.

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