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…]

Absent Friends

Fiorella de Maria

For the staff and sisters of the St Joseph Hospital, Jerusalem
I never thought I would be too afraid
To contact an old friend. My hand reaches
For the telephone but I find myself drawing
Back in case the lines have been torn down
Or your number belongs to a stranger now,
Speaking a language I cannot share. And
For all I know, the letter I keep trying to write
Will be left on a doorstep without a house
Left standing behind it. Or it will lie in some
Depot somewhere with all the other post
Whose owners are not there now to lay
Claim to them. [Read more…]

Tumult

Gabriel Olearnik

Outlanders are the salvation of shapes
the tailored jut of shoulders
the square thighs
face-handlebars
centaur-pilots half a century ago. [Read more…]

Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life

Reviewed by Meredith Wise

Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life
By Paul Mariani
Viking, 2008
496 pages, $34.95

“To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life”: in this line, Hopkins could have been speaking of the treatment he has received from his biographers. Two full-length lives have already been published, and both, while impeccably researched, fail to credit the reality of Hopkins’ spiritual life. [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…]