die Gestalt, the form

In stillness is the wild stuff, for instance,
the tale I’ve avoided telling myself:
The earth of my heart adores being nothingness.
So too, I greet you 
as those I am who all of us are
Host to ten thousand species that feast on my body
The fungi, bacteria, archaea, viruses
I’m their space to live on—kitchen and coastline, their church of old forest
We whittle these series of notched tongues together
Candida albicans may be the true writer
To say a thing singingly makes it less triggering
Each dust-fleck of tension helps opens up spaces
World in its robes, the universe circular
I came to just sit here being the kindom


This is one in a series of sonnets based somewhat on elements of chance. A set of German
vocabulary cards (complete with numbers and translations into English) once chosen, serve as individual titles for the poems.

Perhaps every artist must ask herself at least daily, “How shall we live in these times?”. One way I tend to respond to that question is by looking at the word “Earth” and noting each time it is heart’s anagram. I suggest that the way forward is through the heart; by deeply feeling things individually and at the collective level, we take the first steps in our healing journey. Another means to deal with the “polycrisis” is, I believe, to embody and engender unity consciousness. An example of embodied consciousness myself, I realize I, too, am a place, a host—indeed, a home to many: “host to ten thousand species that feast on my body.” As such, I must attend to the delicate balance of my own microbiome so that the banquet of life—within and outside my being—might proceed in the most harmonious way.

About the Author

Diane Raptosh’s collection American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press), was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award in poetry. The recipient of three fellowships in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, she served as the Boise Poet Laureate (2013) as well as the Idaho Writer-in-Residence (2013-2016). In 2018 she won the Idaho Governor’s Arts Award in Excellence. She teaches literature and creative writing and co-directs the program in Criminal Justice/Prison Studies at the
College of Idaho. Her ninth book, I Eric America will be published in fall 2024 (Etruscan Press).

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