Check out the Poetry in Issue Eight…
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.
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.
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 patois…READ MORE.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On Leaving Jerusalem
it’s not the fists of
running through my mind
not the mix of
blood and gravel
on my tip of tongue…READ MORE.
A Kindness of Ravens
No rain, no dew.
Could he mean this?
I run and hide.
Relief to reach
steep ravine walls.
Pray protect me
from sun and pursuers…READ MORE.
The Stones and the Bread
“Command these stones.”
The taunt reverbs
within the hollow
for bread. The daily
need felt and furrowing
resolve for reliance…READ MORE.
The bread is
always on the table,
always within reach.
But we pound our fists, petulant,
demanding something different.
We scowl and pout…READ MORE.
like resplendent lightning bugs;
to our merriment.
we stumble happily
in the dusky night…READ MORE.
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.
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.
Sun setting over the lake
in the west
always the west
turning trees and docks
to black silhouettes
all eyes tuned
to the sun, the sun
blazing reds and oranges…READ MORE.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the beginning was the Word.
In the beginning was.
In the beginning
Let there be light.
You are Light…READ MORE.
Rachel Michelle Collier
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.