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…]


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…]

108 Degrees

Gabriel Olearnik

  No word was given me, no legend 
   no ringing play, no tapestry of the coming time. 
   I did not know my name and of all things 
   there was only the lapping light, the sword and 
   sharp sand beneath my feet. 

The light is red thread on the clock 
4:48. Incomplete--an hour of wet 
salts and seven men murmuring.  [Read more...]

Bereite Dich, Zion

Grace Andreacchi

Fresh snow on the fields
and all along the track
frost flowers blooming.
In the distance a single light
flickers and dies
Overhead the stars like golden fireflies
are winking in the forest of the night.

I have put on my corals and rubies
I have put on my robe of purest light
I have sewed my heart to the sleeve of my garment
Ich bin bereit.

The Creek

R.S. Mitchell

Not rooted, as if cut and put for people,
an old tree stump waits in the creek,
a pedestal
for an office worker’s lunch break.
In miracles you may or not believe
but notice your face hovering over the water
and now perceive
the halo gliding under a strider,
how each foot-well puckers like a liquid lens. [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…]

Four Calling Birds

Joseph O’Brien


The renditions of reminiscence vary to the degree
That the mind does not mind its own migratory encasement
In wan December grey. Thoughtful birds succeed effortlessly
When all days require faithful acts of constant discernment.

The leftover robin, though, plays off your own reality
All along, all the time letting you think up a good canard
Of collusion: the scene we see, its folksome frivolity,
Albeit withal, is only a plastic-coated Christmas card. [Read more…]


Reviewed by Meredith Wise


by Ron Hansen
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008
227 pages, $23.00

The first thing to keep in mind about Exiles, if you are going to avoid being disappointed, is that it is a novelized biography rather than a conventional novel. Ron Hansen imposed some very strict limits on his invention, which he summarized in a discussion on the web journal InsideCatholic: [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…]

Advent 2008

Publisher’s Note


Nearer My Dogs to Thee  John Zmirak


The Convert Katy Carl

The Meadow  David Dahlke

The Strawberry Effect  Lauren Schott


If Life Could Write: Mystery and Reality in War and Peace  Bernardo Aparicio Garcia


Agnes  Grace Andreacchi


Steam  Gabriel Olearnik

Tumult  Gabriel Olearnik

108 degrees  Gabriel Olearnik

St. Catherine’s Wheel  Michael Schorsch

Absent Friends  Fiorella de Maria

Patina  William Daugherty

Sacred Heart of St. Joseph  Jonathan McDonald

White Christmas  Joseph O’Brien

Four Calling Birds  Joseph O’Brien

An Afterglow Candidate  R.S. Mitchell

The Creek  R.S. Mitchell

Christus Natus Est  Rose Polchowne

The White Stone  J.B. Toner

Footnote to the 22nd Psalm  Jason Baguia

Embers  Michael Miller

Bereite Dich, Zion  Grace Anreacchi

To the Christ-child in the Flight to Egypt  Jason Baguia

Ascension  Adam Cooper

Living with Killers  Vic Cavalli

Concerning Violets  Michael Schorsch


Exiles  Meredith Wise

Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life  Meredith Wise

Art and Photography

Agnes  Matthew Alderman

Until We Have Faces I  Patrick Anderson

Until We Have Faces II  Patrick Anderson

Tomb of the Black Knight  Patrick Anderson

Bere Island  Patrick Anderson