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Image by Louis Maniquet

Crust, Mantle, Core

The Poet empathizes with the Earth whose heart never stops beating, whose crust, mantle and core breathe fire and bleed hot magma.

Listen to Podcast

there is a speck of grit

in the Earth’s eye and in my eye 

The sun is orange blur

things far are harder to talk too

and the earth knows this

I see my yard lamp post

The breath puffs of silica and oxygen

scorched farmland, I see my cereal boxes still look the same-

rectangles with splashes of color, words offer prizes inside, wrapped in plastic

The Earth cannot see people in airplanes waving at it.

I see hair color we miss what falls to the ground

Both the Earth and I listen harder each day

for the dancer to pop up

Because won’t our hearing become enhanced if we are impaired?

Maybe this time she does not appear

There is a space between listening and

blinking, sanding and soothing,

a squeezed, stopped heart and rushing blood

the Earth never stops

Scratchy wool, gathered responsibly, and lip soft silk

There is a searching place that comes

even without seeing.

Where are you Earth

You’ve waited so long for us

Maybe that is the problem.

plummeting under this limbo stick at a random garden party,                    

the song plays

but is stuck in a loop.

The Earth too big to sashay away

We both scream in hot steam from the sink

It is always hotter than you think.

(Oh Earth, thanks for that!)

Finally given the chance of perfect touch

the air succumbs to fire,

the earth and I fight our way out of the fire,

wipe off the gray ash, face the glass-like, indifferent sun.

Crust, Mantle, Core: Welcome
Image by Windows

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in Iowa where she is landlocked. Her fifth, full length poetry collection, 'Pool Parties' is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press in 2023. She is also the author of fifteen chapbooks and enjoys exploring how to blend creativity with nurturing the earth. Her recent works appeared in The Westchester Review, Cleaver, Dream Pop, and Grist. She is the director of the monthly reading series 'Today You are Perfect', sponsored by the non-profit Iowa City Poetry. Find more of her work at

Crust, Mantle, Core: Text
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