Guest artist: Laura Mace



I Write in Self-Defense

I write in self-defense.
I am 70% water.
My bones are carefully architected calcium deposits left by the river of my circulation.
The wild iron that reddens my blood was delicately mined by the filaments of plants I have eaten.

I am 70% water,
My heart and lungs gently pump existence from the wind,
and if at any time you remove me from sky, from tree-breath:
oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, methane,
this ”I” will cease completely in minutes.

I am 70% water,
and you can find all my other elements in a handful of dust
blowing in the south wind

I am this planet, every part.
Highly concentrated soil-ocean-wind-cloud-river,
is the body

Yet we have cleared 70% of our forests, leaving the black ground of the Northwest and the brown gush of the Midwest and the red sands of the South to wash away and gather at the feet of dams.
We have radiated the ground near the Rio Grande, testing fear, and we should be careful fishing there.
We have killed 90% of the large fish in the sea, and our bodies are next.

Wantonly pulling links from this chain of cause and effect
that dangles us over oblivion,

We still build dams.

I write in self defense.

Laura Mace is a native of southern Colorado who just graduated with a degree in history from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She currently lives, writes and swims in Taos, New Mexico.

“Arkansas River” and “I Write in Self-Defense” © Laura Mace. For reprint rights contact the artist at


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One Response to Guest artist: Laura Mace

  1. If we all wrote/ate/voted/lived in self-defense, all the beautiful elements Laura writes about would be doing just swimmingly. But unconsciousness ain’t pretty. Keep writing in self-defense, Laura. May it inspire more and more voices. Beautiful piece!

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