“Her Negotiations Stand” By James Grabill

Her lit candles in the dark blow past negotiating room windows.
She quickens in response to methane fizzing into Arctic waters.
Her din’s driven by shattered glass estates in original stillness.
She burned chopped wood in a hearth to survive the old world,
and now her devices draw power out of waves of light in the sky.
Where she lives, form follows the reception of global circulation.
She’s part wind and rain, part primal matter and agitated cycles.
When the place sleeps, it’s thinking that comes of global weight.
It’s feeling the roots hold down with soil, unfurling green leaves.
Her long education eschews gilded rules dished out with vermouth.
Her inquiries swim through vitelline membrane to the zona pellucida.
Her harvested yields feed abject hunger, but not unwieldy craving.
Her liberation unlocks doors with a skeleton key too unknown to fail.
Her root-reaching branches overflow with longing for the whole.
Her planet that began revolutions eons ago remains a blue oasis.


James Grabill’s work appears in Caliban, Harvard Review, Terrain, Mobius, Shenandoah, Seattle Review, Stand, and many others. Books—Poem Rising Out of the Earth (1994), An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003), Lynx House Press. Environmental prose poems, Sea-Level Nerve: Books One (2014), Two (2015), Wordcraft of Oregon. For many years, he taught all kinds of writing as well as “systems thinking” and global issues relative to sustainability.

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