A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Janna Layton






It’s easy to imagine a planet:
barren, uniform.
An ice planet, a desert planet.
A planet of harsh plains and vast quiet craters.

What was that book from my childhood?
           The one about a rabbit with a world set in a ring.

A pearl
in glitter
              and darkness.

A marble in the pocket of a god.

How many lonely princes
of desolate sovereign spheres
pace across silver moors
or sit in moonstone castles,
waiting for rescue by a Dorothy or an Alice?


I went to New Mexico in 2013 because I had to see if the landscape was as beautiful as it looked on Breaking Bad. During visits to Santa Fe and Taos museums, I was in awe of the intricate geometric patterns on pottery from the Acoma Pueblo. The skill and artistry of masters like Dorothy Torivio and Grace Chino just boggles the mind. When buying Native American souvenirs, it's important to do so ethically. There are lots of knock-offs of native crafts that do nothing to benefit the communities they're imitating. I ended up buying a small Acoma seed pot by Titus Davis from a gallery in the Taos Pueblo. I treasure it.

Janna Layton lives in San Francisco. Her poetry and fiction have been published in various literary journals, including Menacing HedgeAppalachian HeritageNoble / Gas QtrlyZone 3, and Caesura. She blogs at