Gail Langstroth

Spirit Hunger

Then, day / keeps beginning again:  – Jean Valentine

threehundredtimes bellstoll fivedays—flags half-mast
in this thinning: people, thoughts/

to heal we must remember

pain frames earth’s grid: shores of Africa, India
tornadoes strike America’s corn, wheat, soy, earthquakes:
Haiti/Acapulco—gaping—Arctic avalanche smothers

we must remember

boarded-up/11.9 million U.S. jobs—lost/foodbank-lineslong/
flags: half-mast Fat Jack’s Bar & Grill Never To Reopen
we are spirit/we are spirits-in-longing—

to heal—I’m givin’ me roses

I’m arranging a bouquet: calendula/thyme/barbed berry/holly/
holy morning glory threehundredtimes fivedaystheflags/bells—
first vaccine shipments arrive in Ghana

to heal we must remember

we are spirit/we are spirits-in-longing—
I’m givin’ me roses I /bell/toll/flower-open

for more love/for those
—we need roses we’ve always been spiritual beings
I’m givin’ me roses


Soul of this Land

each morning I return my potted geraniums to the garden
deer covet their succulent burnt-red flowers
I notice an air realm, wing-alive flutter

hovering above zinnias, echinacea, hibiscus

symbiosis busyness: white-cabbage, wild-spotted
indigo-butterflies, bees, swallowtails, sucking
fertilizing—two or more to a flower

I near your cross, the first one I set

to mark the blackbird grave  the other three:
Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Covid-19 Victims
because I have only four crosses—

you share a grave with my blackbird

I look to see if night critters have disturbed the lapis marble
snail fossil, size of a silver dollar, the seven roses
your name John Lewis painted in white

on the vertical arm twelve red drops

the roses have dried, petals scattered by squirrels?
the fossil turned on its side, and dirt—as if
some angelic hand gathered that dirt, shaped it into a heart

you and the bird make one earth-heart

cirrus clouds sweep blue Selma sky—in your flag-draped coffin
the carriage’s red-spoked wheels roll
over rose-red petals: symbols:

the blood you shed

click of camera shutters, in the middle of the bridge the horseman
brings his two dark horses to a halt, stands, places his black hat on his heart
cicadas’ shrill hum—six family members join—

as you—cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the last time

now in DC your hearse presses tire treads
into bold yellow: BLACK LIVES MATTER

in the rotunda  your words:
We all live in one house. Never hate.
Be one people, one love.

Wintley Phipps raises his right hand, holds—

song for as long as one human lung can

Whatever my lot, god has taught—
say all’s well, all’s well with

bee, dirt, cicada, house
/OneHeart/OneYes may we
share each/flower-face
together for Every/You/We
pray/Fill Full for—

Whatever Our Lot
May It Be Well With
The Soul Of This Land


Gail Langstroth Raised under the Big Skies of Montana, Langstroth is a tri-lingual lecturer, international eurythmy performer, translator, poet and film artist. She is a graduate of Drew University’s M.F.A. in poetry and winner of the Patricia Dobler Poetry Prize, 2011. Get Fresh Books released Langstroth’s bilingual firegarden / jardín-de-fuego, (2020). Voiced: words from asphalt, Langstroth’s 2021 film, was showcased in European festivals. STAHLWORTE / STEELWORDS, Langstroth’s 9-part performance piece premiered in The Netherlands, (October 2021). In December 2022 Langstroth is on tour in Colombia with writing and movement workshops in Medellin, and Valle del Paraíso