Translation of Relics

by Elizabeth Tervo

"The Fall of the Albatross" by Sydnie Poulsen
“The Fall of the Albatross” by Sydnie Poulsen
With apologies to Giorgi Lobjanidze and to Rumi 


“Our knowledge is but borrowed.
It is a problem for our souls,”
wrote a poet in a faraway language
translating an even farther away language
which is the tissue of fairytales: I will never know it.

So I read it wrong and I understood instead:
“our souls are but borrowed,
they are stolen.”
In the gap between one language and the next language
is a mystery, so I sat down to write.

Later that day I was standing 
between one stone and the next stone,
on the wet green grass in the cemetery
and the borrowed souls milled around in my mind.

We waited while her body was lowered
then we did not know what to do, because
they never fill in the earth while we are there—why?
Please, do it, cover her up, keep her safe.

I turned away and saw the hearse in the line of cars
and I thought, it is waiting for her,
to take her back to the church and then home.
She will need to rest, such an old lady.

Idiot! I saw her go into the ground myself.
She is not going anywhere.
We came to the cemetery, today, with her,
and the flowers, and the tears, and the crowd
exactly on purpose to leave again without her.

The uterus is the hearse
that carries us into this world
and leaves again, empty.

We like to stand up and call our souls “ours,”
but we are only borrowed.
In the gap between the one darkness 
and the next darkness is a mystery, color, life.

 

 

Elizabeth Scott Tervo is a Presvytera, or Greek Orthodox priest’s wife, at St Sophia Church in Washington State. She has published poetry and stories in the New Haven Review, the Wheel, the Basilian and other journals. Her memoir The Sun Does Not Shine Without You, about the time she spent as an exchange student on the eve of the breakup of the USSR, came out in 2021 in the country of Georgia by Azri publishers.

(Art) The photographer wanted to depict the moment in Coleridge’s famous poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner, where the albatross is shot; this action in the poem prompts a chain of events, and this photograph captures the haunting effects of the tale. This ballerina is draped in a shroud, like a ghost, representing the death of the bird and the tragedy of the loss of innocent life.

Fragments from Ernesto and Leti

by Isaiah Rubio

"caves" by Janessa Lewis
“caves” by Janessa Lewis
He rode The Beast. She walked miles.
On The Beast, he said, I saw a man fall off
to the tracks. Just gone. She set off 

from a small village in Jalisco at 15, said, 
I was the only girl there. All the other people
were men. But there was one older gentleman.
He took care of me and made sure 
I was protected. Once, he got caught

and was sent back to his village in Oaxaca.
He said he’d try it one more time.
He held onto that Beast 
until he abandoned it. In Reedley, 

they found work in those endless fields. 
He was already in a relationship
when we met, she said, but they eventually separated. 
30 years later, with three sons, she reflects:

When we got close to the border, 
we told each other ‘Good-byes’ and ‘good lucks.’ 
I never saw the older gentleman again. At a stop 

and inspection, he hid in a shipping container:
I saw the officer with his flashlight 
looking around. I swear to God, he flashed his light 
on me and he saw me, eye to eye,
but he kept looking until he left. In that silence,
he waited until the Beast roared and moved again. 


Isaiah Rubio is studying poetry in the MFA program at Brigham Young University.

(Art) Janessa Lewis was born in 1998 and is from Springville, Utah. While receiving her BFA from Brigham Young University, Lewis has been in several group exhibitions. She makes work that revolves around the human experience with land and how the earth is transforming. The earth is the common thread that weaves between nations, cultures, and communities, tying individuals together through shared experience and a foundation of empathy. Through visual symbols and imagery often seen in land, she communicates ideas around the themes of memory and place, pain and growth, and our relationships with humans and deity. Lewis gravitates toward painting, drawing, and printmaking techniques.

Relapse

by Isaiah Rubio

"RESIDUAL I" by Samantha Atzbach
“RESIDUAL I” by Samantha Atzbach

                                          With this handgun
                                                                 I pull 

                                                            the trigger
                                                                   to
                                                  de  stroy

             my third eye. The muse
                      says nothing,
                                                               closes
                                                               her 
                                                               vision,

                                                 and
                                           leaves me

                      in silence. I burn
                                    my pile of wood
                                    on the first day

              of winter. I hide in churches
                                                                to save
                                                 time

                      for the retribution. I think

                                     I want this. 





Isaiah Rubio is studying poetry in the MFA program at Brigham Young University.

(Art) Sam Atzbach (b. 1998) is currently living and working in Provo, Utah. Her foci are painting, 
textile, and sculpture. Her work examines the relationship between predecessor and successor, the 
weight of being, and the immutable collective unconscious that exists within the sentient and 
insentient, irrespective of time and space. She seeks to reconcile the constant pull from the past and 
push of the future to find space in the present in-between through an assemblage of apparition-like 
figures, guttural marks, found stones, and organic forms, both human and non-human.

Self-Portrait as Flying Turtle

by Carol Berg

               “Florida Woman Survives Being Hit By Flying Turtle”—Huffpost headline

I am old-born and come haunting you through sky-encounter.
You misunderstand the messages I bring of knees and breasts.
The knots of the air are uninvolved in this four-cornered world
of windshield. My leather paws gripping you like a lonely
masturbator. Can you rearrange this stumble? I might be the small
god of preconceptions but you must empty your house of dragons.
Do you see my candles flickering under my shell? Meditate on my
moth-breath that has kissed your forehead, tasted your mind.

 

 

Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in Gyroscope, Crab Creek Review (Poetry Finalist 2017), DMQ Review, Hospital Drive (Contest Runner-Up 2017), Sou’wester, Spillway, Redactions, Radar Poetry, Verse Wisconsin. Her chapbooks, Her Vena Amoris (Red Bird Chapbooks), and “Self-Portraits” in Ides (Silver Birch Press) are available. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net. She was winner of a scholarship to Poets on the Coast and a recipient of a Finalist Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

House in the Marsh

by Eric Whiteside

Fisherman don’t have to live in it.
Just long enough to get
out of the rain.
No matter how broken down,
a house is better than the marsh.
The sun might set from left to right several times
before they reach the living room, but
there’s a roof. It leaks a little,
but it’s mostly dry inside.
There’s a deck of cards someone left
in the parlor.
And if they meet and pass themselves,
they can just keep looking ahead,
never turning around,
at least it’s dry inside.
But if the river floods,
then they better get out quick.
If the peacocks and the herons get quiet,
then they better get their things;
they better get out quick,
through the back doorway,
heading away from the river.
If they don’t sleep going home,
they better wonder
who saw what storm
from the other door. What hands
pounding the door,
wringing every rotten plank into
an unbreakable backbone of stars.

House of Milk and Honey

by Daniel Harper

While I took a shower
you snuck through my door
placed on my kitchen table
a one pint bottle
from the “House of Milk
and Honey” that held
three daffodils, dressed
in the richest yellow
that filled my apartment
with a gentle perfume.
Wealthier than old Solomon
with all of his gardens
I forgot my worries
of overdue books
and made an omelette
with green peppers
and sharp cheddar cheese.

Winter

by Cody Winchester

One December, a horse
fell through ice and
couldn’t reach bottom in
dark winter water.
After that, we didn’t glide
on slippery paths anymore.
When ice turned to slush,
we stood silent and
watched chains around
the bloodstained skull
grow taut and black tires dig.
The dogs and birds ate away
any flesh above the ice
and after the first thaw,
a tractor pulled out the rest.
Around the warm stove, we
tried not to think about
being dead in inky black water
for three months.

For Flannery O’Connor

by Jill Hemming

My grandma always said
her favorite glasses
were thick cat-eye shapes
with fake cut diamonds.
The kind you wear in the portrait ·
at the back of your book.
Your buck teeth waggle
like they’ll poke to 3-D
as I shut this cover
on your crazy hair that puffs
too silly. You don’t look
like you ever went to a formal
and I bet the boys
laughed at your back
when you walked
but oh, I think I like you
despite six feet of dark earth.
You’re still pushing stones,
trying to topple
the hard monuments
men cement to your feet.

Confirmation

by Marni Asplund Campbell

Some time
I’ll show you a picture
of your concrete arrival
in a small glass tube,
authoritative, lab-like,
filled and mixed
with litmus blue, or
acid pink-
some chemical code
that I must crack to see
if you exist.
I turn to set the dock,
wait for your message,
and you reply too quickly:
I am here,
in cloudy color.
I falter, and slowly sit
on our cold floor,
call your father,
“dear God,” I say, and we sit
holding hands,
watching the liquid miracle.

A Letter

by Paul Rawlins

I’ve eaten fresh brown bread and yellow cheese
For a late supper, sipped peppermint tea
While I studied frost etchings scratched against
The kitchen window, and toyed with writing you

A letter. Sue, I’m doing better now
With winter. I sleep late, and I’ve burned
Half a ton of coal to ash for warmth, while
Keeping watch on half-a-dozen scrub jays

And a flock of wayward finches you lured
To the house with thistle seed and peanuts
In the shell. And how are you in Maine?
I haven’t got a stamp, so there’s no telling

When I’ll get there, and I haven’t seen a
Mailman for days. But I’m writing now
To say I’m doing fine, and to ask you
How it is I haven’t got a pair of socks

To match a suit you bought to bury me
In, just in case the worst, and how it is
I’m left dying barefoot and alone
In a summer cabin swallowed in the mouth

Of Ogden Canyon, not so far away
That I can’t hear the traffic from the valley
On a weekday, and you have taken shelter
And a sanctuary in the backwoods?