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Issue I – MAINTENANCE – Jay Ritchie

Molehill Divination (2023.01.03 - 2023.01.09)

[My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi]

little mountains
like coins—
an edited
referring now to
new days
for visiting nothing
weeks turn around themselves
making circles—
clusters of
no faces
in the grass this morning
no fire
in the new sun
returning earth
to earth
gathering up
every fallen thing—
milky glass
from the darkness—
no stars—
no reflections—
only smoke


For the past 9 years, I've been the caretaker of a small 14th-century chateau in southwestern France, looking after its buildings and grounds. During the winter months, my morning routine becomes making coffee and reading before heading out to walk the property and kick down molehills, which, if left standing, will get in the way of spring mowing and are generally a headache for keeping things healthy and neat. For this small project, I made a map of the property using Google Earth and MS Paint and scaled it to the size of the pages of John Elizabeth Stintzi's My Volcano, a book I got for Christmas and had just started to read. As I kicked down new molehills every day, I recorded their locations on my map. I then placed the map over the most recent page I'd read from My Volcano and pricked the new molehill locations with a pin, leaving marks in the book's text. This little ritual gave me words to edit into the poem you see here.



Graeme Bezanson is a Canadian writer living in southwestern France. His work has appeared in BOMB, GlitterMOB, The Puritan, PRISM International, Hobart After Dark, and elsewhere. CELLS OF LIGHT, his work in collaboration with the artist Georgia Russell, was shown at Galerie Karsten Greve Paris in September 2022 and Galerie der Stadt Tuttlingen in February 2023.