Issue 2.9

Shelter by Cathy Clay

I seek asylum from the furnace of tribulation,
and the bone icing blows of life.
I long for sanctuary from the pits
of turmoil, injury, and strife.
For a territory vast enough to roam,
yet sufficiently fenced against oblivion or foe
I yearn.
I desire a dwelling that showers me with sunshine,
and rainbow spectacles from every vantage point.

In times of trouble this domicile shall stand as a fortress.
otherwise it shall cradle me kindred to Mama’s embrace.
I hope for a haven whose walls keep secrets, ceilings
catapult prayers, rafters whisper consolations,
and rooms echo love.

I would fain have a Victorian manse with a widow’s walk
where I can behold a sky that serves not as my emotional
tempter, but as inspiration for aspired altitudes. Perhaps
there stands a shotgun shack that will not tether me to
historical fallacies. The search is on for a temple where
I am neither virgin nor whore. Surely, there is a threshold
where the Holy Ghost is just a breath away.

Maybe, maybe,
there is a refuge for me.


About the Contributor

Cathy Clay is a native Houstonian. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing
from the University of Houston in 1997 and a master’s in English from Texas Southern
University in 2008. Her debut novel, Agatta, was published in 2010. Her short stories
“Cecil” and “The Earrings” appear respectively in Eclectically Criminal and Eclectically
Cosmic, Inklings Publications, and Two Cities Review published her poem, “Sabotage of
Innocence,” in their fall 2014 issue. Chest Journal accepted her poem, “On the Mend” for
publication in August of 2016. Rat’s Ass Review published Clay’s poem, “Hiss,” in the
Such an Ugly Time collection in 2017. In addition to writing, she enjoys family, animals,
and the arts.