Issue Six: Poetry

“Dry Bones Come Alive” by Shanice Reid.

Meet the poets of Issue Six!

Jo Taylor
What My Sister Taught Me

She taught me to rumba, to pick a partner from the crowd,
to coax him to the floor, to move carefree and wild, like water
on a hot griddle, laughing all the while. She taught me to show up

and show off. To star. (Even in family photographs, she stood out,
her dark corkscrew curls, her big brown eyes, playful, inviting,
her charisma coloring the card stock.)…READ MORE.

Annie Harpel

before going to bed
I turn open the blinds a bit
so, in the dark of night
when anxiety awakens me
I can see the moon
or a bright star
listen for God to whisper

“look at me, I am here, hold on”…READ MORE.

Charles Eggerth
Prayer Before Surgery

At this point I am not profound.
I cannot begin to say how this little expedition will turn out.
I am a farm boy again, and I do not know how they get the hay in the barn,
much less why the green corn grows and dies.
You, on the other hand, know cell one from cell two,
vein ninety-four and artery one-hundred-six and thought three-thousand,
brain two-billion-six and why you put it here…READ MORE.

Megan Ulrich

When I was young
my mother took
the three of us,
my sister, brother, and I
on weekend adventures
through the winding pass of
the mountains to visit friends
who lived at an episcopal boarding school,
tucked into the Blue Ridge.

Casie Dodd
The Morning After the Wreck

Scraping sheets
of mud off my new vintage oxfords.
Split ends tattered like leaf bits I just pricked
from the smiles in my sweater.

Will someone walk in? It’s early yet.

Sherry Poff
Into the Water

A cool stream enfolds my waist, and my feet
sink into smooth silt of the creek bottom
as the preacher puts a steadying hand
on my back.

We’ve already sung Shall We Gather
at the River
, but this is merely a wide spot
in the creek where we children
learned to float…READ MORE.

Jeffrey Essmann

The silence of the holy name
should catch us unaware,
should shift the light
to the grayish bright
of eclipse.

The lips of God
should brush our ear
as the buzz
of an August noon,
the pen freeze
on the whiting page,
and a black ant dance
(in glory)
in the corner…READ MORE.

Matthew Wiley
Jacob Kahn, Prophet

Go find the man
wandering in darkness
thinking it light.

Tell him we don’t have to run.
Tell him that it won’t be long…READ MORE.

Sarah Tate
The Grand Dance

I wonder if anyone else can see
the stained-glass waver like water,
almost hurricane-mad,
all energy and terrible beauty
as the Spirit breathes
outside these church walls
while we sit within, hands folded
primly behind the pews, waiting
to be pre-approved for rapture…READ MORE.

Terri Martin Wilkins
A Space I Cannot See

My eyes yearn for a space I cannot see.

A space shrouded not by darkness,
But by brightness beyond the colors I can comprehend.
A space radiating truth so vivid
I must avert my eyes to more comfortable vistas
Before my vision version visitation of reality
Is scorched to ashes and dust…READ MORE.

J.F. Rains

A mustard seed of faith in fragile green
shoots through this hard-packed rationality

and all my mountains tremble in their places
all my oceans turn their stormy faces
to the open sky and see the Son of Man,
a ghost upon the heavens.

One small drop of infinite glows
Inside this finite shell…READ MORE.

Rick Hoadley
Waiting for the Kudu to Die

Stillness stalks the dry bushveld
As dusky light grows dim.
The Kudu’s splendor this plain withheld,
God’s majesty revealed in him.

Dree’s face is grim and pale,
And Yakob says not a word.
The Jackal’s eerie, ghostly wail
Is the only sound we heard…READ MORE.

Katelyn J. Dixon
At Hand

“The Kingdom of God is at hand”
You said, spreading your palms
Wide enough for the hurt of the world
To pierce them through.

Sometimes I look down at the hands you gave me—
Small, with years of storyline crisscrossing
Through soft pink riverbeds of skin,
A single brown freckle marking my palm like a seed—
And I think of You, weaving stories…READ MORE.

Don Thompson
Quam Dilecta

Mocking the chrism, oil grunges the curbside. Unmistakably a crack house with plywood windows as if it were a bombed chapel.

Buyers come and go with that slow but panicky shuffle, talking to themselves about themselves, and smooth the cash crumpled in their pockets like used tissue.

None notices grubby sparrows, contented anywhere from here to an altar…READ MORE.

Peace Nkeiruka Maduako
Days Are Coming

Days are coming,
The sun keeps rising,
Hearts are breaking,
Nobody’s thinking.

Time is fast going,
Things are unfolding,
Prophecy is fulfilling,
Yet everyone’s just living.

Moon is shining,
Night is coming,
Thieves are knocking,
Guns are sounding…READ MORE.

Claudia M Stanek
Craving Graves

the need for meat
pushes through trees and bushes
wanting and wishes erased by the rain
of wails and wails and wails
do you hear the echo of your captive selves?READ MORE.

Rob Piazza
Transfer Station

I’m about to leave for Christmas Break
        after many months of thankless work
and weeks of dreary December rain—

The sky has been as colorless as ash
        when suddenly the dump is suffused with light—
delicious, delectable rays of amber sun—

Manny, the garbage man, shovels trash
        into dumpsters with all the graceful might
of Baryshnikov dancing The Nutcracker SuiteREAD MORE.

Daniel Wade

Before I stuck out my tongue to receive the coal-
lump, plucked from flames by a fire-proof
hand, my lips were frozen, verging on frostbite,
tongue icebound in my palate’s clenched roof…READ MORE.

Sarah Law
The Botafumeiro

Forty kilos of charcoal and incense
swung in love’s unlikely service—

the botafumeiro, largest of its kind
like some unwieldy dinosaur

is hefted up by staggering tiraboleiros
pulling on their (now synthetic) ropes

to hurl the massive thurible
along, and back, the length of the cathedral…READ MORE.

Brian J. Alvarado
the 20s are about learning

how not to just find the
milk and honey, but how
not to drown in its excess,
losing much more than yourself,
but most importantly, yourself,

how to kick and weave your
once trendy longboard through
unforgiving potholes and detours,
receiving tailwinds gracefully
from the inevitable gusts of change…READ MORE.

Gretchen Gales

My father’s oversized Michigan State sweatshirt, my lazy go-to winter guard against the dry chill of the first snow. I open the door to a light, yet stinging breeze littered with fresh snowflakes as my dog Ernest yanks his leash in my tight grip…READ MORE.

Anthony Butts
Iceberg Effect

Ninety percent of you had lain beneath waves
of consciousness in the ICU on the last day
I would see you, a sharp jerk of your body

in my direction when I told you
that we’re together in this: the Arctic feel

of seal flipper in place of the hand I took
in marriage just one week prior

Robert Funderburk
A New Life

August 1957, your fast ended
When a boy of fifteen
Gave his heart to Jesus.

All that’s left is a grassy spot
And one old pine…READ MORE.

John Savoie
In Tenebris

As the year grows old
I still wake at the same
hour, but now I drink
black coffee in the dark,
dark coffee in the murk…READ MORE.

Read Issue Six:


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