The Earth


By Penelope Gristelfink

After Rodin's The Earth

I am centripetal force,
a hurling towards the center,
a live burrowing in air,
the heart of substance
punching a beat inwardly.
I am two lips scored together,
scouring the subtle plain
of a wind-cracked smile.
My head is a callous
at the base of my shoulders,
a fist that remembers,
puts on suffering,
endures, latches on
at the crust.
With the swell and heave
of my body, I have given
feeling a path to walk upon,
and its streams have cut
a crevice from my calves
to the swollen mounds
of my shoulders.
And in the valley between,
it pools,
and I’m holding it still,
building up my whole body
into a palm
with all the aching patience
of a boulder, with all
the silent flagellation
that accompanies the first plow
striking the virgin dirt.


Penelope Gristelfink is 34 years old, and she currently lives in Norristown, PA. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Temple University. She has worked as a chef, newspaper reporter, personal trainer, and cocktail waitress. Her work has appeared in Loch Raven ReviewThe Potomac and Eclectica Magazine.