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Delicately Interconnected  


We are never separate from nature, even as we feel  

the unwelcoming cold of concrete beneath our feet. The  

flow of traffic like a river where cyclists are stuck in  

the currents and fighting the tides. In the metropolitan forest,  

animated entities contend and cooperate. Despite it all, a  

drive to survive persists. There are beings whose existence  

allows others to breathe. Without you there wouldn’t be me.  

I forage for fungi and find them fruiting in clusters. Below  

the soil there are vast Mycorrhizal networks that allow the  

trees to speak. Even spiders weave colorful crocheted webs  

of belonging. A patchwork of apartment windows light the  

pitch black sky like stars coming alive at night. Each  

individual shimmers, exuding an aura of their own amidst  

a sea of glimmering iridescence. 



Fog oozes amongst the pines. A somber  

epiphany brooding, lingering  


in the air like clouds. I feel nothing  

but iridescence. The cosmos long  


for some kind of devotion, something  

like a prayer. I gaze into a mirror and  

see a numinous horizon. The feeling  


of lavender when translucent eyes  

dream of pearls. The wind tells me  

stories of the future.  

Orchid Mantis 


Extraterrestrial creatures  

live here on earth. 

Their grasping forelegs  

are like elongated alien fingers 

reaching for what is theirs.  

Their elegant physique like  

a delicate orchid, blushing pink  

like the florid cheeks   

of a lover who’s seduced  

by something  

yet to be discovered. 

Sustained by flower pollen, 

they softly revel in all that is  

saccharine and sentimental. 

I welcome visitors from 

an ethereal realm. 

They tend to the garden.  

Devour Me (After Roy Guzman’s Queerodactyl) 


I am an orchid amongst  

             war machines. The  


             Belladonna of Sadness has made  

                                     her bed in the apocalypse. Tentacled arms caress  

                        brutalist architecture. Deliberately taking too much, too soon. Morning  


                        lightning strikes my beet red face. Sardaukar eyes  

stare at me straight on. Anxiety haunts  

                        the prey animal as it’s ingested.  


The unflinching reality of tomorrow blinds  

                        my tongue. Longing lingers like residue of sea foaming from the mouth.

              Rabid dogs dream of a miracle cure for loneliness.  

Signs (It’s A Good Night For Northern Lights) 


A red cardinal sings outside the kitchen window and I remember  

how Grandma told me birds are a sign from the universe, that Dean was  

saying hello. I think of the way that some people exist to glue others together. We 

once had Christmases full of warmth, mini towns, and gleaming angel decor. My  

brother and uncle Dean posed together wearing cowboy hats. My uncle’s shaved  

head and sunken eyes were illuminated by a light radiating inside. 


Later, my mother holds this photo in her hands. Piss drunk in her underwear, 

she hysterically cries like a newborn infant. She swears to God, she swears at  

me, the world; the rage of sadness eating away at her insides. Naniinawademo.  

I remember the Ron Diaz on her breath. We had Pow Wows with pink elephants  

while living in corners cut by awkward silences. Smooth little spirit animals have  

been carved out of stone like the generational trauma that’s been chiseled into our  

makeup. We didn’t have control over what was taken from us.  


My grandmother doesn’t bother to decorate anymore. My mother tells us that we  

don’t have to stay long. We feel the gray fog of loss collectively. We partake in  

rituals to remember the dead. We burn candles at Christmas now. We say prayers  

to God. My grandmother asks God why he would take her favorite son, her precious  

son. I see how my mother craves the attention only a mother could give. I see how  

she prays for a sickness to take her too.  


We listen for messages from the spirit realm. My mother and I cannot look into each  

other’s eyes but regardless, mino-dibikad o'o waawaateg. The green glow of jiibayag niimi'idiwag paints the night sky and I think that means Dean has made it home. The  

heavy weight of what’s been lost haunts us, always lingering somewhere above, like  

ghosts who dance among the stars. 




Naniinawademo: /vai/ Ojibwe. S/he cries in grief or deep sadness.  

Mino-dibikad o'o waawaateg: /vii/ Ojibwe. It’s a good night for northern lights.  

Jiibayag niimi'idiwag: Ojibwe. Northern Lights or “The Spirits Dancing.”  

Morgan Loff is a student at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. She enjoys writing poetry and prose about nature, animals, mythology, and Ojibwe culture. Outside of her academic pursuits, she works as a pastry chef at a chocolate shop. 

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