Emalyn Sharp George

I’m not a pretty ornament 
to hang up on a tree
Or set up on a pedestal
for all the world to see 
I’m under no obligation
to be a nice lady
If you want to push me too far 
you’ll see what a nightmare 
I can be 

Respect me
like you mean it
Act kindly
like you care
I’ll do the same for you 
After all, it’s only fair 
Treat me like an afterthought 
and see how lonely you will be 
I love myself too much
to be with someone
who doesn’t

The First

Emalyn Sharp George

I’ve always hated beginnings.
I have an irrational fear of the unknown. 
You always said it would be okay.
You assured me that I wouldn’t be alone. 

I suppose that’s still true.
I just assumed you’d be here too.
I know that it’s naive to believe that things can’t change, 
But that’s what love will do to you. 

The only thing worse than a start,
Is the end of something good.
I can’t do anything about it this time, 
Although I really wish that I could. 

This is the first that I never wanted.
I waited by the phone all night,
But you didn’t call.
You weren’t here to say that you loved me, 
Instead, I heard nothing at all. 
I thought about ringing you up,
But I knew if I tried, 
It wouldn’t be your voice on the other side.
I have to accept the truth that you’re not coming back to me, 
And that this is the first day of many.

I Get to Marry Her

Jay Chambers

Her pink dress billows in the wind as she gets into my car. I am amazed that a woman like her would ever speak to someone who grew a beard so he’d look like a man and wears button-down denim shirts to conceal his hidden insecurities. She grasps my hand, clasping our fingers together like a locket. I smile in sheer ecstasy, knowing what her diamond ring means.

Forever Time

Jay Chambers

The ticking of the clock 
Proved to us our temporary youth 
That these days won’t last 

The days when 

we laugh underneath the moonlight 
Before I leave to head home 
Guided by a shining star 

we dance in your parent’s kitchen 
The only music our beating hearts 
And whispers of loving oaths 

you cry in longing 
Wishing that my feet were glued 
On the ground I stand. 

These days are temporal 
But we are pleased to know 
That the fleeting 
Soon will be the forever.

The Brothers

Jay Chambers

They weaved through the rows 
Picking cotton bolls, leaving 
Barren stalks, standing like 
Skeletons in the sunshine. 
The years passed 
grains of sand 
in the hourglass of time 
Dallas went to the navy and 
Travis went to work 
They reconvened amongst the cedars and the pines 
“The Chambers Christmas Tree Farm” 
The brothers worked together again 
In the silhouettes of Christmas trees at sundown 
Their hands no longer picked cotton bolls 
Or trimmed fragrant pines 
Now they grew old and frail 
Dallas passed in ‘11 
Granddaddy saw Jesus last Tuesday 
They are together again 
Weaving through golden streets 
Resting from all their labors in eternity

Sunday Mornings

Jay Chambers

Air so cold that it cuts my lungs, 
As I walk across the lichen and moss-covered yard, 
Passing chickens that are gathered around old bread. 
I strike my boots on splintered porch 
And knock in rhythm on the door. 

The door opens a void of dark 
And sunlight flies in 
Only to be absorbed by her face 
Lips curling into a smile 
When she sees me. 

The light of her smile 
Reflects back blindingly 
Filling me with gladness 
As I see her in Sunday best 
Gray dress becoming wedding gown 
In my eyes. 

My bones something old 
My joy something new 
Her scarf something blue. 

Sunday mornings bring 
Wedding bliss.


Jay Chambers

Green diamonds are interspersed throughout
Another diamond is floral print
I see a loose thread escaping on the right side 

Her mouth was a gaping void
Black empty and silent
Once it was filled with  

Blue diamonds join the pattern
Some are irregular now
It seems like the pattern 

Words that traveled the sides of a scale
Some too vulgar for my young ears
Others sweetened with diabetic love 

Breaks down as you stare
With different themes
Recurring throughout
Interrupted by 

The hospice nurse arrived at 3:25
All I remember was a bag of cat litter
To destroy the narcotics 

New patches of fabric that remind me
All about those days that seem like a blur

 The dusk obscures the blush pink diamonds
Fading them out into a washed out white 

A stretcher rolls through the hallway
It won’t fit through the door
Three men carry her out 

Together, diamonds become stars
Displaying a multi-colored brilliance
That only neuropathic hands could create 

I make biscuits in the kitchen
Rolling dough on bare countertop
Fighting back tears 

On top of the patchwork sits a small heart-shaped note
“I love you, Granny”
The tears don’t stop this time 


Jay Chambers

The preacher, 
Adorned with a crown 
Of hoary hair 
Shuffles his way toward 
The sacred desk, 
A pulpit that could 
Swallow him up. 

He ascends to his office, 
A place that he once 
Filled, now it seems 
To fill him, with 
A life he longs 
To have. 

He opens his mouth 
The mouth that 
Filled the air with 
Melodious song and passioned 
Preaching struggles to 
Fill his lungs and 
Preach with all 
His power. 

His word is the old, 
Old story, the one he has loved so long. His 
Sermon lacks the shine It used to have 
When he was young. 

As he struggles through 
He exhorts the people to 
“Heed the voice of the prophet, 
Before it is too late” 
He speaks 
As a man 
Who is aware 
Of his own 

Little River Falls

Jay Chambers

Resting against a pine tree 
a soft spring breeze passes by 
And tickles my cheek 

The blanket of pine-straw 
Doesn’t protect me from the moisture 
Of a winter-long rain 

A Bible lies open on my lap, pages fanned by the wind 
And the mossy turtle displaces a chunk of lichen 
As he moves on to the grass behind his rock.

Urban Stars

Katherine Cash

There are stars in the sky 
 Lined up in rows 
In one, I spy a woman taking off her clothes 
In another, there is a couple shouting out their woes 

When did the stars become so narrow? 
When did they fall in line? 
What exactly are they climbing to?  
-that red blinking light in the sky! 

I miss the hunter; 
I miss the bears; 
I miss the dogs- 
How they bite and tear. 

Crabs, Bulls, and Dragons (oh my!) 
   Dying twins- heroes of old. 

Stories etched in the sky itself 
Erase them! 
    Erase them well 
Fill the sky with senseless human greed 
  As if that is all we need.