Two Poems by Kristen Hewitt

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Science Fiction

A whole planet made of scar tissue:
plates shifting and ripping, wounds
oozing heat, closing up again.
Science fiction is about starting over.

In hydrothermal vents: wonders,
sulfur breathers, dark plumes.
Unlawful life—this is what rises
from blackest waters.

If we could evolve all over again,
repeat our four billion years here,
this is where it would begin—with what
squeaked through before the land
stitched itself back up.

The pressure ferments the new—
things stranger than we are. When our air
turns to methane, at last, they will rise
from the deep and gulp it down, hungry
for their turn. The earth

is more tender than we think—cool rock
gives; a mountain range puckers,
scars on a soft belly.

When you get scurvy, all the cuts
you ever had reopen—
the body eats what it made
to hold you together, moths
devouring patches from a mended shirt.

Continents drift together and back apart,
if you are patient. We can’t erase
anything in this life, but even the stars
will hush and darken.




I’d rather be a starling,
common, unwelcome,
than give up my wings
and wear a heavy crown,
be a hoof-hearted noble
of the forest. I’d rather
spiral into the sun on the lift
and sweep of the other birds’ wings.
Even a frog may embrace the sky
from a raptor’s claws—
its tiny airborne moment
to behold the earth below.



Kristen Hewitt is the poetry editor at Orion magazine. She attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, after graduating from Bates College. She has worked for the Farmers’ Almanac and the literary journal ecopoetics, and lives in western Massachusetts.

Science fiction photo courtesy Pixabay. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.