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by nathan erwin

Picking black raspberries behind my mother’s house,

burdock roots & cattails grow like innocence

itself. The gypsy moths feast on hardwood leaves. As everything leans everywhere,

I consider the economy of my edges, the black shelter where my shame hides,

the dark dripping down my beard.

I listen

to the forest’s edge, the field, my body.

Everywhere leans toward everything.

I ask the rattler, sunning herself on our dirt road,

How do I find this world we love, again & again?


Nathan Erwin is a poet in love with place. With a family tree rooted in the North and South, Alabama moonshiners and Vermont dairy farmers, he grew up on Allegheny Plateau, the northernmost tier of Appalachia.

An IAF and Harvard trained organizer, Erwin currently operates at Boston Medical Center to prevent overdose deaths and at the Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust building healthy futures for farmers and land stewards. His writing has most recently appeared in FOLIO, Willow Springs, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Bombay Gin. His organizing and his poetry are conversant, and so he writes about land, drugs, myths, and wanting.


Image by Bree Anne
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