Gazing into the Abyss

J.B. Toner

This painless life has been too little blest,
 Too little in true suffering immersed—
 Of all disease is comfort not the worst,
For one who seeks a cause, a cross, a quest?
Yet one who treads the road of holiness
 Leans perilously near a brink accurs’d:
 For vampire-slayers oft are bitten first,
And exorcists are oftenest possessed.

[Read more...]

Grace

Beth Gylys

Grace…comes unbidden.
— Ralph T. Wilson

After the fight, after the air’s charge held
stiff in the car, after wrong turns, a breakfast
of hard fruit and stale pastry and arriving late, [Read more...]

The Infinite Jest

Peter Ascik

It sinks in, with the musk of morning,
through the pores.
And mingles with last night’s sweat,
and stains the sheets,
and stains the floor,
and stains the walls,
and stains the air, and you awake
husky and gasping. [Read more...]

The Builders

Gabriel Olearnik

Come up and take them.

–Leonidas, king of Sparta, when asked
by the Persian emperor to lay down his arms.
Battle of Thermopylae, 480 B.C.

The gate was almost finished.
In those thirsty hours, a taut rack of earth we raised
With much labor. We packed the soil with shield-butts.
Waist deep in horse-flies, we stretched our lances—
Protean, slender bronze. Our cloaks were red and wet,
The air was old and saline by the end. [Read more...]

This Trip

Richard Cole

Third day of the hurricane
and the whole world is flooded,
people huddled on rooftops,
and that’s how the father and son
arrive, in an outboard,
and the people clamber down,
stiff-legged, shivering, so many souls
loading the boat that the son says
I’ll get out and he trades places
with the last ones so all are saved
this trip. The father nods, [Read more...]

Cistels/Reeds

Anno Domini 1098
Vickie Cimprich

What did you go out into the wilderness
to see? A reed swaying in the breeze?
No? Then what did you go out to
see? Matthew 11: 7

Mud rushes sway
in the wind. Marsh skin prickles
under water strider feet. [Read more...]