Issue Three: Poetry

Meet the poets of Issue Three:

Christine Higgins:

The Bridegroom of My Soul

I am eight years old. I will wear a white dress with a scratchy gauze crinoline to hold the skirt out like a ballerina’s. I will wear white socks and white patent leather shoes. I will wear a veil that cascades lace down to my shoulders. I have a shiny white box pocketbook with flowers under plastic. The pocketbook is just big enough to hold my first Sunday missal. On the inside cover of the missal is a picture of white Jesus with long soft brown hair like a hippie… READ MORE.

Sarah Law:

Two Poems from One Hundred Lost Letters

To sit in the choir, in silence – the mouth full of silence, the hands open, palms up; silence pouring down. Silence casts harmonics in the body – ears veiled from word and world. The night office is pooled in solemn hush. But silence is not dark: it is more like a mist; the plume of a breath in a background of snow. Silence is a white haze blooming over water. I sit in my stall. My soul unfurls along life’s ticking river… READ MORE.

Diane Vogel Ferri:

Libera Me, Salva Me

There is a time for running up the fire escape
with scorched lungs, teardrops on fire,

wordless in the calamity of yourself,
unable to call for help in your wrong-way escape,

a time for graffiti on your skin, platform boots
to make you seem taller, piercing yourself for decoration… READ MORE.

Oluwafemi Babasola:

carry me

i have bathed and swam in the miraculous.
i have tasted raw your love and care

but this, Lord take away:
this time i’m a mountain, standing for you,
in a moment trials and troubles have weathered me
into a smouldering plain, and i’m wondering why

my cross be laced with thorns,
my path be home to thorns,
and i’m scrambling for faith like a toddler tossed to sea… READ MORE.

Karina Lutz:

Ash Wednesday

Mom, you taught me to give up my pillow for Lent.
The crick in my neck a question mark:
why believe we are meant to create new pain to transcend?
So much already braces this world against itself:
children killed by children, torturers
intentional and ignorant, absentee parents,
us prodigal parents, neglectful as we indulge
in our own suffering, and heaping more suffering upon that
in confusion over the glimmer under those bushels:

that to acknowledge pain may redeem us… READ MORE.

Jo Taylor:

For Your Glory

In 1976 I rebelled. I cut my hair. Perfect timing,
I reasoned. My sisters and I were to travel to the
Southwest with you, and they would help me
lessen the blow, for you adhered fast to your
conviction that a woman’s tresses are her glory.
Anxious, I arose early to wash and style my hair,
now wild and uncooperative as if it were rebelling,
too. I brushed and sprayed and parted and teased.
Nothing worked. Shocks sprang from my head like
the Red Sea recoiling to its banks… READ MORE.

Cameron Morse:

Evade

My two-year-old unearths in the garage
the dual suspension aluminum
scooters Dad picked up for us as kids
at a recovery sales outlet.
No trace of the brand name
Evade on the internet, I call the toll-free
number stickered to the handlebars
for a free manual. An auto insurance
representative answers. Where the sticker
prohibits scootering at night, I recall
the church night Noah Cash and Adam
Wilson disappeared on our scooters,
rattling along the woodsy two-lane… READ MORE.

Gerard Sarnat:

SEASONALS

i. (Semi) Greetings

A winter solstice
mid-nonagenarian’s
half full of superb

long holiday cheer
blending alternate quiet
and family time… READ MORE.

Joris Soeding:

Holy Thursday

I can’t recall the last time I prayed the rosary
stumbling on parts with many white, plastic beads
cross swaying in front of the pew
intricate knots in the wood, lines like squiggled threes
plane arrivals lulled after ten
wood creaks from the confessional or car keys of others
wonder what the fifty-seven are praying
some for a few minutes, some for an hour
walking backwards from the altar
the burning candelabras and gold circle… READ MORE.

Anna Jensen:

Me

I am no island
though I seek the solace of uncomplicated solitude
and stand as a colossus to my own independence
I am created connected,
entwined,
communal…. READ MORE.

Nnadi Samuel:

My Body as a Book of Bible Stories

a bat lies cold in the ark on the pulpit sitting on the grave inside of me.
moonlight wasted it, like Noah forgot her in a recent flood.
the roof of my body snows more than the winter here in Florida.

a foreigner boarded a part of me & begged half his refund.
the last Frisian girl who dated me grew stone-cold and blu.
nothing escapes the weather forecast aired on my bones.
even me, i dread to stop by what is left of myself… READ MORE.

Adesina Ajala:

The Manner of Love

Love unfolded His arms,
felt the grit of the cross,
nails alighting, breaking into
His palms in the rage of
a hammer.

Love unbolted His heart to the faintest knock,
like the ground parted under Korah’s, Dathan’s
and Abiram’s feet… READ MORE.

Linda McCullough Moore:

free will

This woman, who does not believe God made the world, does not believe God even is, believes he handcrafted evil, whether in a flash of pique or in a sawdust dusted workshop or a cauldron used for making stardust Tuesday morning. I refuse to inquire. I do not ask, now why would God do that? It is evil to ask when asking asks stupidity to take the mic, make oral argument. Instead I say, nice sweater. It matters so to her…. READ MORE.

Phyllis Hemann:

Redemption

When a fish separates
from water,

it’s body whips back
and forth, convulses
desperate to find liquid.

I’m pretty sure, I look
like this from above… READ MORE.

John Tuttle:

Selfish Mirage

What if I told you,
“You gave shape to the mirage”?
And you could subdue it
For it has been
A compilation of mind and heart
Yours to be sure
Where you could not face yourself… READ MORE.

Craig Dobson:

When Angels Speak

they talk like paramedics:
comforting, professional,
but direct, wanting answers.

Drawn to your greed for
their experience and skill,
nevertheless they must know
what they’re dealing with… READ MORE.

John C. Mannone:

Feeding the Hungry

Soup kitchens are always crowded
with the hungry, and on certain days,
dressed as best as they could with
what they got on their backs,
they’d shuffle in through the doors;
someone would greet them, show
them to their seats. The air was foul
but the fresh odor of prayers was like
ladled soup in white bowls filling
the air with salty savor… READ MORE.

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