The Ash Grove
By: Daisy Wallace
The ash grove we planted is still there;
Dirt under our nails, cricks in our backs, but
We planted all thoserows of trees that day.
They have grown tall with thick, rough, trunks.
The diamonds in the bark are all but gone,
the ridges so deep.
The Tin Lizze is still rusting in the tall grass, but
In a month, a man will come, take it to his garage,
Sand it down,
Rebuild the engine, and the rest.
I’m sorry, but
He will not paint it the pearl violet you always loved.
By Anna A. Eggebraaten
Where are the cliffs?
Heather to escape mold
moss covered stones,
burning skin where gold
grass stroked. Reading
on the heights.
Walking while thinking
in the woods, where a bird
sings shackles away. Always
clouds that promise rain
clinging as close as a lover.
Where are the cliffs, the wood
and the heather? There is nothing
here but corn, and dust.
Dark shadows in the trees
down the face of a crag
like white skin, flickering
with dew when the sun rose,
not east but west now
falling on these heights.
Clouds come anew.
The flicker is lost, an errant
thought gone, but the bird
sings again. Only it’s a crow
not a moorhen in the bean field
across the road perched
on a tire that says
No Hunting in faded
Let’s Stay in Escanaba
By Katie J. Mullaly
I won’t write a letter or give you warning. I will listen to the words in all of those old-timey songs, fast guitar that reminds me of the devil, and look forward to the horizon.
I will just swim across the lake. I will kick and spin until my lungs heave your breath back into the water. I will remember to take the dusk for what it is.
I can wear my favorite jeans and a shirt that makes me look pretty. I want to wear my hair down and let it touch the middle of my back the way it did in November.
I wouldn’t mind if you watched me dive off the dock and pull away from shore. I’ll let you take notice of my leaving. A christening only gets you goodbyes.
Let’s see autumn smoke rise from chimneys. Walk alone through the past, hope that the people who have set fire to this are content with their lives and the temperature.
To put up with such a smell to be warm will always be beyond me. I would set fire to things just to see how high the flames would get.
I would drink until dawn before the firemen would come with a too-small bucket. And I’ll continue to swim. I will allow the sun to swallow me whole, become the horizon line.
Then, I will be a knife sliding through skin at a downward angle, like the meat it’s meant to cut through, the opening in your shoulder filling up slowly like a glass of red orange juice.
I won’t write a letter to tell you I’ve become the sun, sinking into the lake you look at every night. I’m right in front of you—you right in front.
By Nicole Grisham
Remember that time we were
in that room and I looked you
in the eyes?
Straight up blue on brown action and I
could see your thoughts ticking up there,
thinking about what I was thinking about (or maybe
not at all, the light
was kind of crappy).
You could probably smell the sickeningly sweet scent
of adoration coming off of me like that shitty
perfumed lotion that always comes in vanilla or brown sugar.
So warm and heady, like a hug from a brown mother
or the first taste
of sweet potato pie, creamy and decadent like the chocolate
swirl of fudge in vanilla bean ice cream.
Or melted marshmallow on gooey Hershey’s chocolate squished between
cinnamon graham crackers.
The round wave of sandalwood and cocoa butter,
always sticking on your clothes once you leave the store, always easily
By Angel Heller
2011 High School Contest Winner in Poetry
Tight in your arms
Safe as the bombs fall
Crashing all around us
The calm to seep through the cracks
Together in this holocaust
Waiting in each other’s arms
Down our cheeks showing
Showing the child inside us
Needing unconditional love
Tight as this battle ground fog
The screams and crashes
No longer audible
Hand as we search
Debris and find my
Teddy bear full of bullet holes
Salt Water Snapshot
By Abbie J. Bergdale
You smile and pose, teetered
on the edge of the wall. You feign
the fall and what if you had?
I’m not sure how far you’d drop, but sister,
I can’t see bottom.
What is beauty without risk? A country who sold
the last military plane to the states on
a bucket of faith.
Even the tide, wild and blue, slows against the stone.
How do you measure bravery? One small town girl,
four toes gripping the edge: balanced
between alone and alone.
By Kara J. Searcy
inside the screen
door on a
day; sprinklers off
and bathing suit