Harry Ploughman

Nick Ripatrazone

After Gerard Manley Hopkins

With a fountain’s shining shot furls,

palm and heel of hand flit, muscle-
	skin fraps, fanted speed;
	erumpent swing, and here
	arm falcated;
	feet-base edaphic, each bend
	a camber: wait, carmine 
	and cerise: wait, what breath
	of body becomes chaff, skin,
	abraded toward soil-on-bone.

Through Any Fissure

Paul Stilwell

Sanctuary in the open, silent
ripple of sails in that flower
the morning glory: tissue-thin
wind-reversed white parasol,

flesh of which ebbs with air beside
the blue dumpster hard against
the concrete base below
the wooden telephone pole. [Read more…]


Gabriel Olearnik

Because I was ugly
Because I had clubfoot
(No, a twisted face)
Because the sound of my toys annoyed him
(No, he was drunk)
There was no thought in it
Because there was nothing else to do
And every other possibility in every possible world
Was spent
My father threw me [Read more…]


Where are my words?
They’re lost and confused
Where is my verse?
It’s banal, reused.
What is my language?
Look not to your tongues.
What must I do?
Don’t speak from your lungs. [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…]


Cristina A. Montes

Delicate blossoms
at the foot of the trellis.
Still in full bloom,
The weight of raindrops
was too much for them.

The Agony in the Garden

Ketha Spicer

A bitter boy knelt in a pile of dirt,
And tears furrowed his cheek. A spinach leaf
Covered him, and the young corn hid his grief.
The morning had grown to acres of hurt,
And there was no way out. Weeding was doom.
No plastic soldiers now would charge the peas,
Or cool Tonka trucks rumble through the seas
Of carrot tops. Amidst the onions gloom
Was all. The glory of a sunflower
In August, or a cabbage in the fall,
Was not enough to stop his cry. He’d weep,
And weep again, before the sorry hour
Had passed. For now, the sweat and filth were all
The harvest he could see, or think to reap.

Ketha Spicer is the second of nine children born to devout evangelical parents. She lives in Vancouver, WA, where she was born. In 1994 she entered the Catholic Church through the influence of her sister. She is not married, but has two adopted daughters who were born in Calcutta and are now in their twenties. She also has a beautiful three-year-old grandson.

Illinois Farmers

Michael Lee Johnson

Illinois writer in the land of Lincoln

new harvest without words
plenty of sugar pie plum, peach cobbler pie,

buried in grandma sugar;

factory sweets and low flowing river nearby—
transports of soy bean, corn, and cattle feed

into the wide bass mouth of the Kishwakee River.

[Read more…]

On A Written Day

Simeon Lewis

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.

– Psalm 89

The lilies are dry spent,
the flesh of summer is full,
a sparrow darts and drops,
and before and behind me
the numbered pages of the day. [Read more…]

A Natural Law

Kevin Rulo

The man who gets his fill
Will never render nil
The want he did but kill.

In wanting he did seal
That want could never heal
For want is like a wheel,

A wheel that goes around
Where want is lost then found
And then tracks like a hound.

Kevin Rulo received his MA from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he is currently a doctoral student and an instructor of Rhetoric & Composition.