Issue 1.11

Enough for Me by KB Ballentine

Sassafras and mountain ash tilt
shadows in the thawing sun.
Rhododendron leaves and fire pinks flash
under ferns, over moss.
Spring whispers the woods and my heart —
more than ready for the honeysong of bees.
Winter’s white silence almost forgotten.
Moonrise sharper than noon,
lonelier than midnight —
stars bracing the sky.

In the Basement of the Chapel by P.S. Dean

I found hell on Halloween night.
The congregation decided
to scare the youth off a path
of sins we’d yet to commit.
The women were howling
in black leotards and eye paint
and the children threw ash
in front of a box fan
like it was the devil’s birthday.
I knew how it felt to fall
on my knees with the spirit
rising up between my chest
and stayed up mumbling
to be forgiven for my sins.
When we got to the room
marked Heaven, I watched
my mechanic with a fake beard
gesture to all of us to follow
him through an unmarked door.
I feigned sickness and slipped out
among other friends to lie down
in fields that would soon be gone.
Looking up at the sky, I searched
for other lives where I tried to love
the ghost who rolled back his stone.

 

Copperhead by Wesley Sims

Remember how we jaunted one sunny Spring
morning through the back pasture
carelessly parting Johnson grass and joe pye weed,
headed to a work session at the church cemetery?
Where we paused to climb through the fence
at the dirt road, a copperhead kept silent vigil,
spotted string of brown and copper
like a sisal rope pushed into an “S”,
sampling heat with a devilish tongue,
ready to spring against intruders.

You cringed, breathless, screamed and pointed.
Luck brought a neighbor on the same journey
along the road just in time.
A quick strike of his
hoe clipped its head and we tiptoed
on along the tree-lined road to the church,
scanning ditches and fence rows like mine sweepers.
We chopped crabgrass and dandelions around dead relatives
for hours, peering behind every dusty tombstone,
expecting some demonic clump of weeds to grow
copper spots, lunge and bruise our heels.

 

About the Contributors

KB Ballentine has a M.A. in Writing and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her latest collection, The Perfume of Leaving, has just been awarded the 2016 Blue Light Press Book Award and will be published this summer. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and publications, including Alehouse, Tidal Basin Review, and Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. In 2014 she was a finalist in the Ron Rash Poetry Awards and, in 2006, a finalist for the Joy Harjo Poetry Award. She was awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize in 2006 and 2007.  Fragments of Light (2009) and Gathering Stones (2008) were published by Celtic Cat Publishing. Her work also appears in River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century(2015), Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI:  Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011). Her third collection, What Comes of Waiting, won the 2013 Blue Light Press Book Award.

P.S. Dean is a Mississippi native that lives and works in New Orleans. He received and MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi and is currently finishing his first book.

Wesley Sims has published one chapbook of poetry, When Night Comes, Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky, 2013.  His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, G.W. Review, Wisconsin Review, The South Carolina Review, Praxis Magazine, The Avocet and others.  He lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  His hobbies include reading, writing, camping, and photography.

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