Cotton Xenomorph is a new literary journal produced with the mission to showcase new, and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community. We are dedicated to uplifting new and established voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.

Even Pines Have Crowns


By Hannah VanderHart (art by Susannah Jordan)

is a claim about how little I know.       
I read a glossary of forestry terms

and know only several. In fact, I       
would have failed an elementary

diagram or tree quiz this morning.       
I could not name three parts. I would start

with the roots, and then label the trunk.        
I would label the bark, although

that’s not one of the three main parts.        
Or maybe the leaves, so many peacock eyes.

I would not be able to name the top:       
the crown, the beauty. I’m an Eve anyway.

In Milton she keeps her eyes to the ground,
names the flowers she spies growing there.

I would call the crown the canopy,
erroneously. I wouldn’t think about

the rain forests, their several levels
of canopy ascending through the moist

and flowering air. These things
are above me, and I do not look up.

Hannah VanderHart lives and teaches in Durham, NC. She has her MFA from GMU and is currently at Duke University writing her dissertation on gender and collaboration poetics in the seventeenth century. More at:

(Artist) Susannah Jordan earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Queens University of Charlotte. Her flash fiction and poetry have appeared in Daphne MagazineTwisted Sister, 50-Word StoriesTiny Text, and Apocrypha and Abstractions. Her artwork and photography have appeared in GravelThe Tishman ReviewOxford MagazineFigroot PressRiggwelter Press, and Calamus Journal. She has work forthcoming in formercactusRathalla Review, and Orson’s Review.

Artist's Statement, "Apricity", digital photo art:

I’m obsessed with trees. There, I said it. I photograph all sorts of things, but trees and nature top the list. In the winter you can find me wandering around outside, snapping pictures of snow-covered tree limbs. In the spring my attention turns to the flowers. When I’m not tiptoeing through the tulips you can find me puttering around art museums, where statuary tends to grabs my eye. I hope to keep taking photos until my hands are too shaky to hold a camera. There’s a whole world of trees I haven’t seen yet.

The State of Things