Stephanie Heit

Anthropocene Curse

The text of the following poem is arranged so that in the center is a blank nearly circular space.


After apocalypse midwest migration, the water wars. No more borders or countries. Big
lake got bigger. Reached fingers overland until interlaced with ocean. The light didn’t go
out but got brighter. Continents boiled to sludge in the salt/sweet ocean/freshwater mix.
Party snack for an extraterrestrial drawn to this solar system
sad marble by the rank smell and churn. Planetary slush pile
stew. We were once water anyway, with different
skin/feather/scale configurations. Earth a witchy
cauldron with all the raw extinct species materials
(that’s us!) in for the brew. Toil, trouble, double,
triple cauldron that shit. Mycelium goes undercover
to wait out more optimal conditions. A few
beauties still fly in a low sky strip: sandhill cranes bugle
beckon prehistoric compatriots. The moon rises. Tides
obey gravity. Without land to absorb the vibrations, putrid
waves play themselves in screams. Something dying. Already dead.
Burnt sun pupil reflects into liquid surfaces. Cyclops with a magnifying glass and bad
intentions. Fire and sizzle. Ether does the requisite elemental roll call. Earth doesn’t
answer. No charm, firm or good, will incant. It will take deep time. Forever.

Headshot of Stephanie Heit, a white queer disabled cis woman smiling, wearing a purple wrap, with brown wavy hair in a bob. She is on (perhaps in, feet dangling) the Huron River with background muted green of tree leaves, and dappled light before dusk.
ph: Tamara Wade

Stephanie Heit (she/her) is a queer disabled poet, dancer, teacher, and codirector of Turtle Disco, a somatic writing space on Anishinaabe land in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She is a Zoeglossia Fellow, bipolar, a mad activist, a shock/psych system survivor, and a member of the Olimpias, an international disability performance collective. Her poetry collections are the book of hybrid memoir poems, PSYCH MURDERS (Wayne State University Press, 2022), and The Color She Gave Gravity (Operating System, 2017). Website: