When branches crackle like puffed rice
during my sister’s wedding,
I’ll be thinking of the pony’s tail flapping
over the browning grass–as if it were basted
in butter, stuck onto the planal rungs of an oven,
and set to sit and simmer.
That grass is my sister’s future,
and she’s been cutting it ever since
I left the nest, leapt from the branch,
heard it crackle right before my wings gave out.
Now, as I roll around, covered in amniote, I see
egg shell paintings–someone’s taken the speckles
off of the egg my older brother jumped out of.
Now it’s neon blue and pastel pink and I’m confused.
Kids pick me up like my mother prying worms from the dirt
or caterpillar feelers, suckers, there’s just so much to choose
from, I can’t decide whether I’m a raptor or prey, hawk or bull.
Maybe I’m a peacock and Argos will inspire me to guard what I know everybody wants from inside me.
Maybe I’m an Annelid and everything good has been condensed down, flattened, and hardly multi-cellular. Maybe I’m an Arthropod, and there is just a barrier of hair keeping me from the intelligence of mammals. Maybe I’m a member of the Nuer, and I can’t see the man I have become because the tribal scars track my forehead, slivered off at the temples. Maybe I’m a rune, spoken and forgotten, murmured but not remembered, base of all to come.
Or maybe I’m a coral reef, damned to see generations come and go, slosh through me, give birth and take death, then end in cornflour -starched oblivion.
-Kenneth is a senior at UTC.
I remember seeing nothing at first, except for an oppressive darkness; a kind of binding absence that wrapped itself over me again and again, and I was alone. All sense of place and time were lost. There was only blackness. I couldn’t move either, just look ahead of myself, trying to make shapes out of the blank space before me until, in the very center of my vision, a light sprang into existence. I suppose I could say it was more like a spark than a light, as it danced like one tossed from a campfire, tumbling in the air until it went out. But just before the little spark extinguished, two more popped into existence, and now these two danced about until they went out, their passing met by more and so on, until finally those little sparks became a flame, and the flame turned to light. Its brightness shone until there was no darkness left.
I don’t care that you killed all the blue-finned tuna,
pointing out that they shine like expensive tin foil
and that you like the taste best of all, the fat underbelly of those
damn fish who don’t know how to turn their heads.
Do you remember all those eyes in the Mediterranean,
dark eyes surrounded by wrinkled blue bodies? No one
had time to feel lonely until you swam with the
fish once, telling them you know where they can go to touch
the moon, to let its light reflect delicate veins
on them. “You won’t miss your scales at all,” you promised,
“we’ll all be old together and let time trickle over us.”
But the fish soon got tired of the clock always moving,
always going forward one second more and they huddled
together, not daring to move because following time
is how you and I are going to end but never them.
-Martha Hunter is a sophomore studying English at UTC.
We watch the friars forgetting if they had
a brother back home, pictures of themselves
fading in distant closets. What else is buried
here, the dark earth just beyond these stones?
I can tell that it is always warm in a tomb.
A crowd is watching the last remnants of a hand
being hollowed black by the chipping paint.
We press this fragment to our foreheads,
let it soak into our thoughts. At the moment
we catch a single arm in the doorway,
it becomes a ball of cotton in our throats.
At last, St. Francis, resting near the small
bones of his birds while the voices
of a choir are playing into our heads.
It still surprises us to find the thick iron bars,
chapels that can lock in the last remains
of a saint – a tooth, a vial of blood. The tiny
pieces of someone we can point to and love.
-Anne is a senior studying English at UTC.
Lucinda knew she was a dependent, unstable woman when she ate Rocky Road ice cream, replayed the same pathetic Dean Martin songs, or turned in front of her bathroom mirror staring at her (almost certainly) expanding thighs. Mark had called last night and offered everything she might have hoped for in a break up speech. She heard all of the key phrases: “it’s not you it’s me” and “just need space” and “best if we don’t see each other.” The truth might have been one of them or none of them, or the one Lucinda hated worst of all, maybe it was underneath them all and those phrases just blanketed it and made it less vivid and ugly. She had directly turned on Dean Martin and reported to her bathroom for thigh examination.
“You’re nobody till somebody loves you,” Dean sang.
In a different world, you aren’t my brother.
And I stumble into life alone.
Empty sheets form nights without moon,
And missed conversations burn in my throat.
But that world can’t be so bad,
Because in it, you didn’t leave.
You were never tossed to sea
With heavy nights blanketed in cloud.
Water didn’t churn beneath the ship whose name
I never learned to hate.
And I never waited by the window,
Where friendship seeps into memory,
Beneath a hope for the moon to shine again.
Gavin Cross is currently a senior majoring in English creative writing with a minor in Psychology. He was published in the 2009 issue of the Sequoya Review and is a member of Sigma Tau Delta. A book that Gavin recommends is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Q: If you could be a character from any book, who would you be? A: Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.