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#1 Flint (SiO2)

by Jennifer Macbain-Stephens

She said how do I find space in the gray and blue sky

the red gneiss and schist layers

step off the ledge


Flint: often ignored as plain and unappealing

the beauty of an object is not only in its appearance

but in its potential uses.


humans are made of dust but their hearts are the color of pink feldspar

no guard rails surround the towering Kissing Couple

Grand Junction High School cannot pay for doors on the boys bathroom stalls


a girl with oval glasses tells a trans person that the weather is bipolar

“I’ve already been soaked and sunned”

A roasted house of loud dams and triple passes


the surfaces become powdery-white 

on exposure to air needs careful storage

I catch a view all copy products in the high desert

meanwhile the barista is leggings and hips 

says this is the best kind of subduction

used for making fire and

coffee while Tupac plays on the high-altitude speaker 

and the rain 

and the rain 

and the rain 


with our bones, our tectonic plates

Note: the words in italics in these poems are taken from Essential Guide to Crystals by Simon and Sue Lilly, 2006, 2010, and 2018. published by Watkins Media Limited. United Kingdom.

About the Author

J. MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently lives in the Midwest and is the author of four full length poetry collections: "Your Best Asset is a White Lace Dress," (Yellow Chair Press, 2016) "The Messenger is Already Dead," (Stalking Horse Press, 2017,) “We’re Going to Need a Higher Fence,” tied for first place in the 2017 Lit Fest Book Competition, and “The Vitamix and the Murder of Crows,” is recently out from Apocalypse Party. Work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Recent work can be seen at or is forthcoming from The Pinch, Black Lawrence Press, Quiddity, Prelude, Cleaver, Yalobusha Review, and Grist. Visit:

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