Tag Archives: Issue 10

Plateau Catchfly

By Hanna Johnson

In the morning we awoke to the songs of
Thrushes and warblers, and a melody from the nearby creek as it stumbled over smooth rocks. 
We sipped on bitter coffee from specked, blue, 
enamel mugs before leaving camp. That day we 
searched for the Heliotrope Milkvetch, 
rare and small, it’s large salmon pods and pinnate leaves
are only found on the crests of Heliotrope mountain. 

I clambered over fallen logs, avoided large boulders,
and wove my way around tributaries that 
meandered in aspen groves. These tiny creeks had carved 
small, green canyons in the bed of fescues and wheat.
When my boots–dark at the toes from stepping in streams–
reached the final step up, I found 
that the ridgeline was flat, not a peak,  
but a plateau. Like deep red waves 
the small blooms of fat leafed sedums, 
and dark purple penstemons
broke on the edges of stone. 
My feet scampered around the edge of cliffs
Looking out at the surrounding flat topped mountains 
Whose sloping bases slid into a landscape 
Dotted with small lakes and coated in firs.

As we made our way to the rocky site 
Where bolts marked the presence of our milkvetch
I encountered a ruby red flower. Silky hairs covered a 
Terminal inflorescence, and a narrow bell shaped calyx.
Dark purples ribs ran down the bell and reminded 
Me of delicate lattice work on chapel walls.
The pink petals spread their lobed fingers
As if to extend warmth and welcome to bees and butterflies.

I can’t remember what Heliotrope milkvetch looks like
I don’t have any photos. But silent silene, 
the plateau catchfly, who is rare but not endangered 
keeps her own perfect image in my head.


Hannah Johnson is a botanist working in the red rock vistas and plateaus of Southern Utah. The landscape surrounding her is infectious and filled with awe. Much of her work is inspired by the landscapes and plants she encounters while working and playing among the rocks and flowers.

The Goat

By Sam McCartney

The 
goat’s
head tilts
as I walk past
its eyes fixated, 
a stalk with unsure
candour, considered 
with grace It takes a few 
steps back, then forward with
pace it begins to run and ascends 
the cliff face, with poise and precision
darting on the brink of death, transcends
a mere escape a simple meal this is so much
more, a delicate dance, an encounter, an encore a
playful boast, marvelled, as I raise a toast, to the goat.


Sam McCartney is an aspiring writer, student and administrator from Newcastle, England, who now resides in Glasgow. His work has been previously published in print by Razur Cuts and online by Flash Fiction North.

whispering to fish

By Hanna Johnson

She sat in the green waters 
of the Dolores river
and let orange sand squish 
under her wiry thighs. 
The grainy sediment left pinpricks of 
pigment on her pale skin as

warm water eddied and twirled
around her hips. 
The sun echoed off of the water 
and stained her freckled back. 
Nimble fingers slipped brown 
buttons through their 
threadbare holes as she hastily 
tore off her sun shirt. 
She watched the stained blue fabric
float downstream, lazily mirroring the sky.

Black fish the length of a pen cap,
tickled her toes 
and placed their mouths on her fingertips
to suck the salt from her skin. 
She giggled and tossed her head back 
so far that the slow moving stream
coated the ends of her dark hair

In one smooth motion, she scooped up 
water and a singular black fish. 
She placed her lips close the handheld pool
and whispered a heavy secret. 
Her long fingers, with orange dust
smudged under the nails,
unfolded and let the fish go

She watched its midnight body swim
past rocks and reeds, carrying the
small phrase of her.
Then 
she laid back, 
face to the sky, 
back against the glossy surface
and felt herself float downstream 
with her whispers and the fish


Hannah Johnson is a botanist working in the red rock vistas and plateaus of Southern Utah. The landscape surrounding her is infectious and filled with awe. Much of her work is inspired by the landscapes and plants she encounters while working and playing among the rocks and flowers.

Globe Mallow Bee

By Hanna Johnson

I lay my body down 
on orange sands 
the sharp remnants of dead weeds
prick at my vertebrae.
Eye level with a scarlet globe mallow 
I whisper Hello,
as we both wait for the 
hum of wings and
a grey bodied bee.

Bees in the genus Diadasia 
are exclusively found in
deserts and grasslands, the west, 
where cacti and globe mallows
dominate arid landscapes. 
They carve tunnels in well packed soil
people don’t expect bees 
to nest on trails and roads.

I tell all this to the pink haired artist 
as the needle punctures my skin. 
She nods How fascinating 
After an hour, 
I leave the parlor 
and take another desert dweller with me.


Hannah Johnson is a botanist working in the red rock vistas and plateaus of Southern Utah. The landscape surrounding her is infectious and filled with awe. Much of her work is inspired by the landscapes and plants she encounters while working and playing among the rocks and flowers.

Origin Story

“I surrender my body to water now red, red is the Colorado, blood of my veins

Terry Tempest Williams

By Hanna Johnson

Course sands that mimic crushed ginger 
combine with turmeric and cinnamon 
in a tall terracotta bowl.

That same claret colored soil courses through
river’s body, 
the water churns spiced, iron red earth 
and turns everything to rust.

Petals of desert marigolds drip like honey
from a cracked wooden dipper
as they slide into lumpy red dough.

A pair of callused hands reach into the 
fat lipped bowl and tear off tiny 
portion of thick dough.

Ancient fingers knead the deep orange loam 
until a they form clay arms and legs, 
they give the figure smooth river stones for eyes.

I was born the moment water mixed with this
warm and sweet spiced land.


Hannah Johnson is a botanist working in the red rock vistas and plateaus of Southern Utah. The landscape surrounding her is infectious and filled with awe. Much of her work is inspired by the landscapes and plants she encounters while working and playing among the rocks and flowers.

Pink

By Amy Salomone

“Pink” is a celebration of life and the connection between living things, both within the moment and across generations. Natural selection is a process by which species change based upon mutations that favour reproduction. As a result of these changes, you see sexual ornamentation of flowers and birds, developing over epochs of time to pass on genetic material to offspring, as well as the elegant design of our lungs and heart. Each functioning as part of a larger system to help deliver nutrients to our trillions of cells. Old is made new again within this collage, utilizing vintage medical illustration and “Hudson River School” masterpieces to make new statements about the natural world and our place within it.


Amy Salomone of Forms Most Beautiful is a mixed media digital collage artist who mixes science and art to explore man’s place in the natural world. Her educational and professional background in science is evident in her art pieces which explore concepts such as evolution and natural selection, animal behaviour, perception and our story within and of this universe. Each piece is designed to tell a part of this story and to act as starting points for thought and discussion, with which we can change our perspectives of how we see ourselves. 

Jellyfish

By Amy Salomone

“Jellyfish” is a commentary on what it takes to survive on this planet as a living organism for long periods of evolutionary time. Einstein once said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” and this piece is meant to communicate that idea. Jellyfish and plant life have populated this Earth for 500 million years, fungi for 1.5 billion. Modern humans have only populated the Earth for 200,000 years or so. When we look at life in all of its simplicity and complexity compared to our own, we can begin to make sense of what sustains a species for long spans of time. When we look at our own species, we can reflect on our own potential for longevity.


Amy Salomone of Forms Most Beautiful is a mixed media digital collage artist who mixes science and art to explore man’s place in the natural world. Her educational and professional background in science is evident in her art pieces which explore concepts such as evolution and natural selection, animal behaviour, perception and our story within and of this universe. Each piece is designed to tell a part of this story and to act as starting points for thought and discussion, with which we can change our perspectives of how we see ourselves. 

Neural Network

By Amy Salomone

In “Neural Network,” the artist is reimagining and recombining works of naturalist artists and masterful medical illustrators to make a statement about human perception and natural selection. Within this piece, you see neural networks as well as the main organs of the nervous system. Our perceptions of the world are created by our neural network and our brains, not to reflect reality but to instead keep us alive and reproducing. These neural networks are deeply intertwined with the living world around us as humans are voyeurs of the natural world. Living organisms depend upon one another for their reproductive success.


Amy Salomone of Forms Most Beautiful is a mixed media digital collage artist who mixes science and art to explore man’s place in the natural world. Her educational and professional background in science is evident in her art pieces which explore concepts such as evolution and natural selection, animal behaviour, perception and our story within and of this universe. Each piece is designed to tell a part of this story and to act as starting points for thought and discussion, with which we can change our perspectives of how we see ourselves. 

I was born

By Jessica Powers

by a creek, 

murky water waiting

ready to fill 

the house with stagnant 

want and yearning, 

journals of dreams

but the rain, how heavy

it came down

erasing all our pictures,

thick mud-water

filling the basement

every trace of memory soaked

with silt and slick something. 

Nothing was of use anymore.

Things that were once beautiful, 

now wilted with wet;

how easily water can ruin

Childhood, gone in a flash flood

The things we keep below the surface

are always the most precious


Jessica Powers is a Chicago-based poet and writer. Her work has appeared in Hair Trigger and Ransack Press. She is currently buying too many books and looking forward to writing on the train again someday. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

drinking oceans & looking into eyes

By Jessica Powers

I always thought that blue was a sad color, but it looks so good on your eyes. I poured myself in that ocean like a fresh pale of water or gravy at the dinner table. But the ocean was dying, because we killed it. The water evaporated into those things we call clouds that live in the sky. And we drank every molecule without a thought for any other being. And we ate all the meat, but did we harvest enough gravy? Like we were wholesome beings who lived only from the Earth. I escaped the world at the dinner table. And as I drank my cool cup of ocean I looked into the sockets that house your eyes. Maybe that is why I love you so, with eyes that remind me of the first source of life. But my flesh will never feel that splash of the salty solution again. For you, and the ocean are dying. 


Jessica Powers is a Chicago-based poet and writer. Her work has appeared in Hair Trigger and Ransack Press. She is currently buying too many books and looking forward to writing on the train again someday. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.