Patina

William Daugherty

“Oh, William, look! How beautiful!” she said;

and, keen to help, I also turned my head
to see the objet d’art that she admired:
a handsome bronze our gallery acquired
from some estate—two lovers rapt in one
another’s gaze, mote-dazzled in the sun.

“Mary liked this stuff. I never did.”
He was tall but stooped. His right hand hid
his trembling left; a silver pompadour
gave him a courtly air. Her pert couture,
her simple pearls, her much too auburn hair
contrasted with her face, long etched by care. [Read more…]

Saint Catherine’s Wheel

Michael Schorsch

Catherine wheel.
A device used in the Middle Ages for public
execution named after Saint Catherine who famously
was to be tortured on one. The torturers firmly stretched the limbs
of the victim between the spokes of a wagon wheel and then bound
the limbs about with biting cord and then struck
the limbs with a sledgehammer breaking the bones and then braided [Read more…]

Nearer My Dogs to Thee

John Zmirak

“Don’t like the weather?” they say here in New Hampshire. “Wait five minutes.” As summer comes, our polar clime becomes instead bi-polar. Four times this week, the day has turned almost instantly from brightness and balm to lightning and sheets of rain–then back again–several times. The sky is alternately black and blue, as if the weather had been punching it in the face. The lightning knocked out my circuits today, while the crackling of the thunderclouds sent the wimpier of my two beagles into a full-bore panic attack. Little Franzi cowered against my leg, buzzing like those massagers they use at old-fashioned barber shops, until I scooped up all 40 lbs. of quivering hound and laid him next to me in the bed. I actually had to cradle him like a child–albeit a bow-legged, pigeon-toed, stinky, fur-covered child with an IQ of under 25 whom you have trained to defecate outdoors. (It’s best not to admit this when Social Services comes knocking, FYI.) [Read more…]

White Christmas

Joseph O’Brien

Forecasters generally consider a white Christmas to be an inch of snow on the ground or an inch falling that day.
—news item

But along the river bottoms, snow found no place,
When we went walking there
After life, abrupt, stillborn, fell apart.

Your flustered hands gently wrestled
With the chill in the folds of your overcoat.
Frightened doves, they could not bear to be held,

Holding to themselves
In a barren nest untouched by tenderness,
Yet wanting to fly from flesh to flesh. [Read more…]

Steam

Gabriel Olearnik

There is a silhouette to the pressure of jeans
thigh and tight cloth. In darkness let me dwell
awhile. The comfortable bloom of night
heavy bedded here the growth of stone
cathedral lint. Arched catbacked ceiling
the snore of old grapes—love—
two bicycle racks, two men and one horse
the Temple. We were poor knights indeed.
Limestone mossed up in the glow of candles.
Grey chlorophyll. And the stale air of cellars. [Read more…]

The Strawberry Effect

Lauren Schott

A symphony of color hung in the skies above Nicholas Harris’ head. The sun had exceeded even its own expectations that morning in producing resplendent reds and yellows. Black slated roofs and aluminum, accident-proof car tops obliterated the view for most people–people who rushed to work or golf or home after an extended evening party–but Harris had been awake for several hours already, tending the strawberry fields despite the arthritic bones that complained with painful pops and pangs with his every movement.

Harris did at some point raise his eyes from the ground at his feet to the sky, and some small corner of his mind registered the word “beautiful” in response to the colors before him. [Read more…]

An Afterglow Candidate

R. S. Mitchell

“At 03:34:30 UT, the Swift Burst Alert Telescope
(BAT) triggered and located GRB [gamma ray burst]
060218. . . . Swift slewed immediately to the burst. . . .
There is an indication of an afterglow candidate. . . .”

Think of those days of earthly incarnation
as a fixed point in human history
but also a cosmic epiphany,
like a burst of gamma radiation. [Read more…]

Embers

Michael Miller

The days grow short; the nights are getting colder—
So are the conversations on the phone,
And almost every evening he’s alone.
He shivered when he thought of what he’d told her.

The fire that blazed has now begun to smolder.
A new fire kindled from the earlier one
Is quickly lit and just as shortly done:
To have loved and lost is to be that much older. [Read more…]

The White Stone

J.B. Toner

For Blaise Gerard Kurtz

To him who overcometh, says the Lord,
A white stone will be given whereupon
Is writ his name, known only to himself
And God Most High: his true, eternal name.
I AM has sent us, given us His Word
(The Word Who is God and is with God too),
By word brought forth the firmaments of earth
And peopled them with everlasting souls:
We see His Name in bird and flame and breath,
And every blade of grass; and yet–and yet–
These are but adumbrations of that Name. [Read more…]

The Sacred Heart of St. Joseph

Jonathan McDonald

1. Canticum
As a youth, St. Joseph is foretold in a dream of his marriage to the Theotokos.

I dreamed a dream one week ago,
That the moon, the sun, the stars, would bow to me,
Like a wife to the will of her lord,
Like a son to his father,
Like a slave to his master. [Read more…]