after T.S. Eliot
Angie O’Neal


instead of ground

feel the stirring,

the turning away.


see a fox in the park dart into

a forest of ashes.


these days the things deepest

down are always disappearing

like spindrift—


acts of devotion,


as the angler waits on the shore,

apprentice to the slow dance of


its long withholding—

its sudden flourish.


follow and take the way of the river

through the city,

indeterminate on

tributaries of absence.


go missing and apostrophize

on ancient waters, cast a line

like a pair of gills, filaments

sifting the current for air.


watch the kayak upturned,

floating ahead like a promise,

breath shallow as a

bluegill out of water


wingbeats quickening in

a flight of tree swallows

approaching a silver sky.


let it slip away like time

between your fingers,

an epiphany breaking open on

the waves—oars like empty arms

reaching out to touch the sea.

Payne’s Grey

Payne’s Grey
Hannah Cauthen

Payne’s Grey is often used in painting to create soft shadows. Being a blue-grey, it is not as harsh as black, and therefore creates beautiful contrast without drowning the work in darkness.

His soul was like dark navy; not quite blue, not yet black—something un-definable, like his sadness. I didn’t know where it came from or how long it had been there, but I did know that it sometimes settled into his features in the middle of conversations and flowed out of his fingers when they brushed my skin.

But this soul I’ve stumbled upon (or that’s stumbled upon me) is different. While it is also un-definable, it is not out of uncertainty, but chosen unreasonableness. When exposed to nature or great beauty, it is a calm, deep forest green. When it laughs, the color grows brighter, but always remains serene. When frustrated or angered it turns bold orange—the literal color of fire. It fades to a pale blue when looking at me—the color of his eyes. In this blue is a strange mixture of peace, determination, admiration, and apprehension. Even through all of these colors (and many more I am still discovering) is the underlying tone of dark navy. Instead of being sad, though, this brings great contrast to his multi-colored anomaly of a soul. The slight darkness keeps it from being overwhelmingly bright; it is the perfect Payne’s Grey.

My Home

My Home
Sydney Holmes

It’s where I was formed
My whole life, trapped in a cave
I am blind
I cannot walk without stumbling
Retreating, further and further into the cave

Is there a way out?
I had heard rumors of those who left the safety of the cave
Those are just tales
Aren’t they?

I continue to live my life as I have known
Rocks, Bugs, sticks, scrapes, fear
The tools and ways of life
More numerous than the souls who use them
I love the Darkness
It’s my life, my home

Wait, what’s this?
There’s a small light.
Over there.
I soon find myself blinded by the light
A light I never knew existed

I still cannot see
I cannot walk without stumbling
Drawn out by the light
How is this different than the cave?

Slowly I begin to see clearly
Shapes begin to form
A man appears on top of a hill
Waiting with open arms

Is he waiting for me?
I am drawn to him
I find myself at his feet
Tears fall from my face as he speaks to me
“Welcome home son”
Finally, I found my home

“Life is a rotation”

“Life is a rotation”
Chad Cawthon

Life is a rotation.
So what do we rotate around?
Either this world or a world above,
Heaven or this hollow ground.

The sun, the moon, and the stars,
Or is it the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost?
What do we worship?
Who do we love the most?

Nothing is new under the sun,
At least that’s what the Bible says.
And the man that inspired the Bible
Is perfect in all his ways.

So why do we worship this sacred ground?
Do we think it’s getting us to heaven?
It will only keep you bound,
But God will make you leaven.

So whom will you run to?
God or this earth?
A piece of ground
Or a God that will show you your worth?

Journeys Within Journeys

Journeys Within Journeys
Marcia Bost

I set myself a task
To wile away the hours:
Look deeply at the landscape
Through which I speed.

Two towering trees
Darkly frame a power line –
A parenthesis.

Only an English teacher would
Naturally punctuate nature –
When did I get lost?

A glooming cloud
Like meringue whipped into peaks,
Overwhelms the land.

Chattahoochee Bridge, long and narrow,
As dangerous as those
Building in my mind –
What if I am swept away
By ideas?

Dead, white bones, a corpse,
A cut over grove of trees –
Their headstone Walmart.

Not another journey!
I’d rather have the covers
Pulled over my head –
Why have I split my world in half?

A smudged square of moon,
A child’s drawing rejected
Crumpled by inky clouds.

Tell me again,
Why am I climbing this mountain
With the freight of others’ expectations?

Bradford pears, unplanted,
Along a broad boulevard,
Blooming sideways.

Wahoo, Sargent, Banning –
Lights waiting in windows
For someone else –
How many miles to home?

Queen Anne’s lace:
Elegant weed draped carelessly
On the road’s shoulders.

There’s just me;
The burning stars, tiger bright,
With radiance of vanished galaxies;
The clash of Beethoven’s Ninth;
And the overwhelming necessity of staying
Between the yellow lines
Guiding me home.


Angie O’Neal

“i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?” –Warsan Shire


I try to pray when the northern winds persist,

refuse to relent to the mewling cries on marshlands



Silence falling on deaf ears

asleep on stone pillows.


The nadir of a setting sun sole unit of measurement

in this country,


its monarchies of ice.


I will bring you back to this land.”


Apostasy like walking in water fully clothed,

unnatural as childbirth,

remote as a Lapland fell.


I hear the children on the path flanked



amber pale as the

hull of an ark.


Here, where soon the sun-torched rim of day

will set open into night, this edge of earth

pulsing electric with light—


kingdoms boundless as the breezes blown

through mountain ash, heather purpling in

brooms that sweep the moorlands wild


with harebells; even the melancholy thistle

on roadside verges will come

to save us,


after this mile of winter before dawn.

Hidden in a cleft

Hidden in a cleft
Jared Linebach

Swirling wind, swelling waves
The storm is fierce tonight
Debris from all directions
Causing fear and fright

Roaring thunder, pounding rain
From which there’s no evasion
The blackened sky overwhelms
Only the wise seek a guardian

Finding calm, feeling secure
Hidden in this cleft
Onward the storm rages
Caring not who is left

Steadfast hope, enduring faith
These will see me through
The storm is no match
For the guardian will pursue

Unending love, unfailing promise
The guardian is quite deft
So, I will be found
Hidden in this cleft

For the Little Girl Inside You

For the Little Girl Inside You
Leah-Joy Smith

When your tongue tastes the dirt of failure,
do you swallow rocks of fear?

When you’re told to quit, it’s just a hobby,
do you trade in your tools for a blazer?

When you smack the Great-Wall-of-Worry,
do you pull out grappling hooks or step away?

When he doesn’t write you back,
does anyone’s heart hear your tears?

When Skinny says you’re too much,
do you still have coffee with her?

When the semester is almost over,
the dryer quits again,
another bill is in the mailbox,
do you want to fill the tank and see it all in the rearview?

When your words are passed by like flowers in a median,
do your petals pull together, away from the sun?

When you feel like a lion without a pack,
do you keep company with Little Debbie and Rory Gilmore?

When you drop the eggs, lose your job,
do you point the boxing gloves at yourself?

When bitterness asks you to hold his hand,
leave him with the check.

Dinner on the Grounds of Heaven

Dinner on the Grounds of Heaven
Marcia Bost

Do not grieve for me, my children,
Like heathen who have no hope.
I have a mansion in the celestial city now.
The fountain that waters it is Love,
And the Son never sets.

I am a child again hopping and skipping
And bringing reports of butterflies
To doting aunts and uncles under the spreading shade —
Dinner on the grounds of heaven.
Uncle Will is there with chewing gum in his pockets
And Aunt May has brought her famous apple pie.
Uncle Clarence who died before I was born
Has swung me high above his head.
There’s Mama smiling more than ever on earth
And Pop-paw loving her again.
All my brothers and sisters whose lives
Were measured in hours are here —
And Grandma who died when Mama was two;
Even my stillborn son is showing me around.
When you come, my children —
And I pray you”ll come —
Mine will be the second face you see.

All things have passed.
But not this joy;
It shall not pass.
Thief time has had his hands broken.
Grieve not for me.
This is the place for which
I’ve been homesick
All my life.


(In memory of Julia Layman Inzer—what she would say to me now.)

Dancing Summer’s Dance

Dancing Summer’s Dance
Kristin Towe

There is an empty field
with nothing but a tree
which underneath I sit and sigh
and breathe the summer breeze.

A canopy of leaves
a shelter from the sun
so when the rain comes falling
no damage to me is done

Beautiful are the branches
that hold me as I climb
to the very treetop
and gaze out at the skies.

It is a tree of life
and I am just a branch
clinging to the trunk
dancing summer’s dance.