Biosphere 2: One Poem by Eric Magrane

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Six Short Movements Regarding Control

south lung

we began and finished with the same amount of water
            but the air was a different story

open the door & watch the lung slowly descend

cactus wren

or two cactus wrens both male who it seems have decided
to stay in the desert that is a facsimile of a desert

the humans speak of their tinpot nest-making skills under glass
but who are they to begrudge this slight pleasure

not to be explained away by biology

overheard conversation

they had a conundrum
they had a big problem

the beach

a little surrealist poem might include
a desk on a beach under glass
and a poet writing something about
humans as the confounding variable

but about wouldn’t be the right word
taking the wave machine into account

three acres topside, two acres technosphere

ecosystem services transparent in the pipes


the cognitive leap one must make standing
beneath slopes wired for knowing the future

if we stop the rain, turn up the heat, or prescribe
a deluge, stripping out the wind accounting

for intricacies, taking
the measure where science is

a work of metaphor and where data
come in many forms




Eric Magrane is a poet and cultural geographer, the first Poet in Residence at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and the founding editor of Spiral Orb. His work at Biosphere 2 is part of his Ph.D. research in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. He is the co-editor, with Christopher Cokinos, of A Literary Field Guide of the Sonoran Desert, forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press.

Read image poetry and a conversation with Eric Magrane appearing in

Photo of the view from the beach at Biosphere 2 by Eric Magrane. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.