who's to say my body is not all the world

Ellen June Wright


                          after Francine J. Harris

is there a wetland inside me
            an ecosystem all its own 
                        so many species of chlorophyll-filled 
                                     flora and doe-like fauna 
                        living symbiotically within 
            some recess of my body 

who is to say I am not Mother Earth 
            home to lizard and the toad 
                       home to slick-black catfish 
            that swim and wriggle upon the land 

who’s to say my big, brown
            body is not the whole world
                     with its hemispheres, equator
                                  its longitude and latitude
                     its mighty meridian

who is to say no wild dogs roam in me 
           who is to say I am not part wolf 
                    or I am not the valleys upon 
                                 which the hunched-back buffalo now graze 
                    as its numbers grow

Ellen June Wright

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

Ellen June Wright is an American poet with British and Caribbean roots. Her work has been published in national and international online and print journals including the Naugatuck River Review, New York Quarterly, Plume, Atlanta Review, Solstice, Tar River Poetry, Paterson Literary Review, Gordon Square Review, The South Carolina Review, Obsidian, Caribbean Writer, Tulsa Review and Verse Daily. She is a Cave Canem and Hurston/Wright alumna. She hosts a weekly poetry workshop on Zoom for Black writers. She received nine Pushcart Prize nominations between 2021 and 2023 and is a 2023, 2024 Best of the Net nominee.