Per Annum

Joseph O’Brien

Time takes miles from life, years rolling out, tolling mpg’s,
From a perpetually restless motor. The past, awkward and unwieldy,
Is a highway map folded in confusion’s haste.
It goes too far back for me to follow.
You become an absence, the might of a subjunctive ghost,
Expected as a radio station
And the time and place its fading signal finally dies. [Read more...]

The Short Life of a Bird

Amy Kopecky

Yesterday I saw a baby bird. I was sweaty and hot because I just got out of gym class and we had played my favorite game—dodgeball. I’m the best in the third grade! Except for Brian. Brian’s even better than I am and pegs me in the head every time. The teacher never gets mad at him, even though head hits are illegal.

Gym is the one thing at school that I’m good at. Everyday I hear, “Conner, you could be getting A’s in all your classes if only you’d stop talking!” I don’t know why teachers don’t want me to talk. On TV kids always talk in class and the teacher never notices. Actually, teachers are a lot dumber on TV. [Read more...]

Slim

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...]

What He Heard

C.M. Schott

Dear God,

Bryan says he doesn’t believe in you anymore. I think he’s just trying to be tough. Please don’t be angry with him. I still believe in you. Amen.

~

Dear God,

This is Leanne. Well, I guess you knew that. Uh, I haven’t talked to you in awhile. I guess you knew that. Look, this is how it is: I really, really need this job. If you help me get it, I’ll do anything. I’ll even go to church again. I’ll quit smoking. I’ll quit drink—Well, you get the idea. Look, I just need this job. Please, God. Uh, thanks. Amen. [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...]

Nor Washed Away By the Flood

Anders O.F. Hendrickson
Ejected, exiled, homeless, Eden banned,
   no fires called Adam home at end of day
   but Eve’s; and there alone where Sarah lay
held nomad Abram any share of land.
Beside the garden locked seemed naught but sand
   to Solomon his court in royal array;
   and home enough was Egypt’s farthest quay
to Joseph, if but Mary held his hand. [Read more...]

Loneliness Is My Contraception

Joseph Fino

My friend tells me he was born 1984. I was born then. My friend tells me he ran cross country in middle school. I ran track. My friend tells me he ran a marathon. I ran one last year. My friend tells me he ran his in ‘81. I tell my friend to shut up. He never talks again and I haven’t run a day in my life.

My dad tells me about his wife. “She’s kind of a beautiful woman.” I remind him he’s not married. “She has the hair of a lioness.” I don’t even know what that means. “She prowls around with intent.” I remind him he walks around aimlessly and wonder why mom didn’t leave him sooner.

My brother tells me I don’t understand anything. I tell him I understand that. He tells me I need to grow up. I kick him in the groin and tell him to man up. He cries like me. [Read more...]

SS. Peter and Paul 2008

Publisher’s Note

Feature

Bernardo Aparicio Garcia

A Man of Culture: Reflections on the Papal Visit

Fiction

Eleanor Bourg Donlon, The Letters of Magdalen Montague

Joseph Fino

Loneliness Is My Contraception

C.M. Schott,

What He Heard

Amy Kopecky,

The Short Life of a Bird

Poetry

Joseph O’Brien,

Anders O.F. Hendrickson,

Nor Washed Away by the Flood

Michael Lee Johnson,

Twist My Words

Roger Mitchell,

Leah Acosta,

The Same

Eve Tushnet,

Story Without a Name

Amanda Glass,

Slim

Abigail Swift,

Still to See

Mike Schorsch,

Well

Br. Ignatius Peacher, O. Cist.,

Chipping Sparrow

Drama

Grace Andreacchi,

Lawrence: A Mystery Play

Essays

Stefan McDaniel,

Loving Our Second Selves

Reviews

Eleanor Bourg Donlon,

Divining Divinity: A Book of Poems by Joseph Pearce

Miguel Jiménez,

Faith at the Edge, edited by Angelo Matera

Art and Photography

Sarah Hempel Irani,

The Annunciation of Mary

Teresa Burkett,

Patrick Anderson,

Angel

Faith at the Edge

Miguel Jiménez

Faith at the Edge: A New Generation of Catholic Writers Reflects on Life, Love, Sex, and Other Mysteries
Edited by Angelo Matera
Ave Maria Press, 2008
196 pages, $15.95

“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.” So said Flannery O’Connor towards the middle of the twentieth century. Judging by the contents of Faith at the Edge, a new book of mostly short but striking personal essays, it appears a new generation of Catholic writers agrees. In their various essays—which touch on “Life, Love, Sex, and Other Mysteries,” as the book’s subtitle declares—these authors do not shy away from presenting the oddity of their Christian lives: the sign of contradiction they embody as followers of an ancient faith in a postmodern world. [Read more...]

Divining Divinity

Eleanor Bourg Donlon

Divining Divinity: A Book of Poems
by Joseph Pearce
with illustrations by Jef Murray
Kaufmann Publishing, 2008
43 pages, $10.95

Harold Bloom has written extensively about the “anxiety of influence” and its hindering effect on those poor souls tortured with poetic ambitions. The greatest poets must be readers of poetry and are therefore (or so Bloom reasons) doomed to produce only weak, derivative work until they cast off the burden of influence and make some extraordinary contribution—an act of genius unique enough to capture the attention of posterity. The fledgling poet, therefore, is prey to acute anxiety. His first poetic volume must either be a conflicted mess of agonized allusion or a prolonged display of ostentatious precocity. There can be no middle ground. [Read more...]