Several Circles | Erika Howsare

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Based in rural Virginia, Erika Howsare is the author of How Is Travel a Folded Form? (Saddle Road Press, 2018) and FILL: A Collection (co-written with Kate Schapira; Trembling Pillow Press, 2016). Several Circles is her sixth chapbook. She's recently published prose at Longreads and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She often posts photos of the ground at



I lift a plate-sized rock and find a tiny snake. It’s the size of a large worm and the color of charcoal and, like every snake posture, its form of the moment is lovely and perfect unto itself: overlapping curves. I can’t quite see it; it’s trying not to be seen. Is its belly a muted red? I can see its motion against the pocked soil, but it’s rapidly entering the mat of low straw-colored stems that surrounds the island of bare soil where the rock had rested for months. It becomes completely invisible within seconds. The amount of time it had spent under the rock before I moved it—the hours of its biography—completely unknown.

The structures of crystals stack up and make larger, but usually irregular, shapes.

The horizon of the cone.

Toxins. Healing compounds. Entire species. Whatever is behind all this thought. All these cells.

A woman squats to spot morels. I bring home some young ferns intending to research whether they are edible fiddleheads, but they don’t know that, and they wilt near my computer as I fail to get around to it.