Issue Eight: Poetry

Check out the Poetry in Issue Eight…

Emma McCoy
Fruit trees for the fearful

He’s the coolest therapist I’ve had yet.
Shoots straight, no bullshit, no hollow statements
like “Just pray through it” or “You know, I bet
God has a good plan for this.” I hate this…READ MORE.


Larry Pike
Air Pressure

This afternoon I sat close
to a friend, in his living room,
next to his hospital bed.
He’s pleasant company, a kind man,
for years a coworker, vigorous until
a few months ago…READ MORE.


Terry Savoie
Beneath a Heavenly Blue Mantilla

In the pew closest to the confessional, a mother
rhythmically rocks side to side as she cradles her infant,

the child in her arms seemingly lifeless as a sack of potatoes.
Softly, she lullabies, mumbling some incompressible patoisREAD MORE.


K.L. Johnston
Prayers of the Righteous

On the Sunday after our first child’s birth,
you went to the country church up the mountain,
wowing the tiny congregation
with your classically trained alleluias…READ MORE.


Jennifer Stewart
Salvage

crouched at the end
of the flower bed
on hands and knees
open-mouthed garbage bag black at my side
I pick away winter’s detritus:
dun leaves, their cell structure in lacy desiccation, and spikes of brittle canes spent
remains among the emergent…READ MORE.


Cameron Brooks
Camp Judson

Then they worshiped in rapt adoration,
encircling a roaring blaze ten feet tall
and wide, and the obsidian sky
was sprent with sparks soaring hot
with a hundred praises, heavenward,
beyond the tops of the tallest pines.
..READ MORE.


D. Walsh Gilbert
Mary Faces Firebrand and Ember

We build the fire with year-old hardwood
dried against the side of the house out of the rain
and ready now to crisscross over sap-filled
starters in our brass fire bowl. We’ve asked Mary

to join us for toasted marshmallows & cider
under a canopy of faraway stars…READ MORE.


Catherine A. Coundjeris
Asking for Signs

Stymied by disease and despair
I washed the dishes in the little kitchen.
I thought how nothing would ever be good again
and I grew gloomier by the minute
weighed down with depressed confusions…READ MORE.


Chris Carstens
Real Presence

Sometimes I wish that Mass had better special effects.

When we were kids and Father lifted up the Host,
a pair of kneeling altar boys off to the side,
or hidden somewhere, back behind a screen,
would shake their jingling chapel bells
as if to say, “Wake up! It’s happening right now
and you don’t want to miss it.
Jesus is in the building.” READ MORE.


Grace Claire Przywara
I Often Try to Soften Jesus

I often try to soften Jesus—
he who claims he came to set the world

ablaze, set like flint, burning, burning,
bearing a sword, a whip of chords,

spit and spite and sweating blood,
wrenching demons…READ MORE.


Ryan Apple
On Leaving Jerusalem

it’s not the fists of
shadow men
running through my mind

not the mix of
blood and gravel
on my tip of tongue…READ MORE.


Kath Higgens
A Kindness of Ravens

No rain, no dew.
Could he mean this?

After foretelling,
I run and hide.

Relief to reach
steep ravine walls.
Pray protect me
from sun and pursuers…READ MORE.


Ryan Helvoigt
The Stones and the Bread

“Command these stones.”
The taunt reverbs
within the hollow
stomach grumbling
for bread. The daily
need felt and furrowing
resolve for reliance…READ MORE.


Steven Searcy
The Bread

The bread is
always on the table,
always fresh,
always within reach.

But we pound our fists, petulant,
demanding something different.
We scowl and pout…READ MORE.


Bob Hicks
The emberfall

The emberfall—
like resplendent lightning bugs;
slow-floating ornaments
to our merriment.
We dance,
we drink,
we stumble happily
in the dusky night…READ MORE.


Alena Casey
Dust

1.
And the Lord God formed Adam out of dust…

and you, my man, are as much a man as he, but
when your lips meet mine
there is no death or dust about it…READ MORE.


Charles Eggerth
Rebel Hearts

My love, look at the falling leaves,
the golden, lovely, falling leaves—
soon it will be winter.
Soon the gray, the cold, the nether.
So like what we’ve done to our love—
killed it as surely as the winter kills leaves…READ MORE.


Nellie deVries
Fear/Revere

Sun setting over the lake
in the west
always the west
turning trees and docks
and swimmers
to black silhouettes
all eyes tuned
to the sun, the sun
blazing reds and oranges…READ MORE.


Phil Flott
His Fire

Afraid
that if my hand enters the flame
nerves will be burnt
not to feel further.

I pull the metal curtain,
shut the glass doors.
The fire flares orange to yellow…READ MORE.


Tommy Welty
Ghost-House

You love old things, dead things,
the crumbling country chapel

the cellar walls where green shoots grow
through: rot-black planks, shattered
saints in violet stained glass…READ MORE.


Ellis Purdie
Kneeling Bedside

In the noise of my blood, I grow weary
of home and look for somewhere to pray.
But in winter, finding things in the woods
is harder, and I am less grateful, always asking
for what takes months to return, learning
again I cannot just sleep until spring…READ MORE.


Don Reese
Saving

All my life, and it’s been long enough now
That I flatter myself I’ve learned a little bit,
Touring your yard, I’ve seen you point to it—
Some tiny, fringed, bent sapling, I don’t know

How you spotted it among all the green,
Hidden and pale, no doubt soon to be overrun
If left to its own feeble devices…READ MORE.


Natasha Bredle
Believe Me

It sounds silly, but I needed God
to believe in me. The way
my mother did in elementary school,
when she would tell me, you can do it
while grasping my shoulder,
as if her touch made physical
the belief. Oh, Lord, how many nights
have I knelt until carpet fibers
etched little crosses on my knees?…READ MORE.


Brooke Stanish
Epiphanies & Panic Attacks

You met me beside a bed one day, not a roadway
as you did for saul, or an ocean wrapped in stone

for sweet david, he bending down to drink & to
cry like me, my eyes covered in sores & drawn blinds so

through windows, no one could see me tossing my body
toward the ceiling & then crashing on a rug by my bed

where You found me, shaking—half the world leaking from my head…READ MORE.


Ron Riekki
Sundowning

I don’t know why, but I get so much more sick
at night, a dream of my wife in the middle of
contractions and the midwife collapsing, needing

CPR, and I press on her manubrium and the sickness
comes, coughing me awake, to see the room that
shows I have never been married…READ MORE.


Michael Pennanen
Escape

Fighting in Vietnam did it to him:
the war’s assault on heart and mind,
the drugs he took to escape
the fear, horror, drudgery…
these and more.

When I met him many years later
he was sitting in the back pew of my church
ready for worship—a moment of promise…READ MORE.


Nicole Rollender
Flung From the Body

A dead zebra on her side—we watch YouTube—the lioness deep in the bloody belly. Cry of a bird in branches—my son looks up at the TV, in front of a wood fire—our own sudden awareness of our lives’ shortness. In the distance, the other zebras watch & lower their heads to twitching, barbarous grass. Sun setting in the video, everything partly in shadows. We kiss our son’s forehead…READ MORE.


Kaitlyn Newbery
The Rest

In the beginning was the Word.
In the beginning was.
In the beginning
Word spoke:
Let there be light.
Word existed:
You are Light…READ MORE.


Rachel Michelle Collier
Strange Unblanketed

Some hazy, curious sound through a cracked window:
orchestral swell — an inkling of some strange beauty. Some
cinematic feeling stirs; some bitter air snakes through the
room, nips the flesh beneath the blankets…READ MORE.


READ ISSUE EIGHT:
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