Catholic Distance University


Amanda Glass

Do you know Slim the Cowboy, the Hero of the West?
He found a rattler by the sofa, bravely beat it up.
He saved his friend the sheriff when the local gang got rough,
Then drank his campfire coffee from his pewter loving-cup.
That’s Slim, in his bandana and fleece vest.

Did you see Slim the Cowboy as he galloped into town?
He left his mustang Star tied in the stable-yard out back
(That stable looks suspiciously like my green baker’s rack),
Then sat down at the bar and had a sliced-banana snack.
That’s Slim, in small snow-boots of blue and brown. [Read more...]


J.B. Toner

This vale, tsunami-wracked and deluge-filled,
A rocking isthmus ringed with roiling foam,
And huddled under sobbing heavens’ gloam,
Where arks and barks beneath the dark we build,
To fare on tear-seas over earths we tilled
In warmer days before our sunlit home
Was swallowed up to lie with salted bones
Far, far below the stormclouds stirred and spilled—
Charybdis-whirling, roaring, plunging, curled
By moon-pull in a towering lonely tide,
This watered globe, this sorrow-soaking world: [Read more...]


Sarah Gajkowski-Hill

and we were supposed to recognize this dank silhouette:
He--mottled, knotted, screaming
shrugged into a lice and tick-eaten rag,
wrapped tightly in her unwashed hair?

light emanated from his bare footsteps
his progress spreading a dim glow miles around,
energy prompting boats he stood on to push themselves
into the middle of lakes [Read more...]

Still to See

Abigail Swift
I didn’t notice
the trees hard-etching the empty November sky
as vividly last year.
My eyes were elsewhere,
and my body a year less tired,
less worn, and yet less stripped
of the weight that gathers 
in those long blind years
when we feel most wise. [Read more...]


Kate Bluett
The mesquite is not a tree
although it can be climbed.
There was one on the playground,
and the pretty girls claimed it for their own.
They laughed among its leaves of lace
while we less-favored
sweated in the sun. [Read more...]

Roads Walked and Barred

David Landrum


I pray for him each morning.
Denied a place where my virginity
could flourish, I became obedient
to a husband who joked on our wedding night 
how I had narrowly escaped 
having my pretty little thing
locked up where no one could enjoy it. [Read more...]

Winter Rain

J.B. Toner
A sad grey dawning, this; a sad grey cloud
  Bemists the morning’s eye with doleful mirk;
And under dreary treetops’ drizzling shroud,
  Bedraggled crows in lonely murders lurk.
The whiskey's all but spent, the wine is lost;
  The beer-fen on the bare cold floorboards molders;
The fridge holds half a jar of apple-sauce;
  The last butt in the brimming ashtray smolders. [Read more...]

Chapel of Relics

The glacial white paint comes peeling away
From the monumental doorframe,
Peeling away in great strips like some fabulous
Undiagnosed disease:
And the columns all around are cold and mottled,
Pale and dead and grey.
I stand at the grate,
Looking in through holy prison-bars
Rich with swirling ironwork arabesques
Moorish Palermo turned baroque. [Read more...]


Amanda Griswold

He did not get my soul without a fight,
But foaming, seething, reeling in my brain,
I bowed to darkness and emerged in light.

My mind was scorched by shadows grown too bright.
The demon smoldered and I roared in pain.
He did not get my soul without a fight. [Read more...]

To the Child Who Asks

Sally Thomas

Am I your favorite? you want to know.
And I say yes: As every breath I take’s
My favorite breath. If, say, you’re eight, that makes
You my favorite eight-year-old. Ditto
Ten, nine, seven, six, five, yada, zero. [Read more...]