I went down into the crypt of roots and earth
darkened with mold and soil, a place of death,
to restore a lost one to the light of truth.

They say Virgil guided Dante through such darkness.
That same lantern that lit the way, alas,
made Homer blind, and blind Tiresias.

It’s true I met with Echo in the hills
and in self-love found something that appals
the one true voice that gave answer to my calls.

Some say in amours I almost lost my mind
and ate strange fruit, and spoke words unimagined.
In some eyes all my virtues were condemned.

The grief I thought was mine was everyone’s.
I know now why human beauty ends in bones,
and what to say before the silence comes.

This Something Remembered

As though clinging to a piece of driftwood
we dreamt together in each other’s arms.
All night I lay, at last,
beside your ash-soft, pebble-smooth skin,
still scented with carnal invitations.

When I awoke I recalled the stream frozen
over, heard the caw of rooks over fields
furred with frost, where boys,
in the ghosts of their own pale breath, shatter
the thin shields of ice that lid the ditches.

I could hear a train rattling on the tracks
and pictured cogs and wheels in kinetic contact
trundling into distance.
I kissed your lips, felt a melting warmth
surge like sunlight between you and me.

The stream beneath the ice has been set free.

Invocation of Ianthe

in memory of Sophia Jane Swift

I found Ianthe’s name
scrawled in wet sand
and tassels of seaweed
near where the starfish
spread open its frond
to the choke of plastic
and fish lay gasping
in the oil-slick kelp.

I summoned up Ianthe
where the ammonite contained
another time in its fossil
and the ocean whispered
her forgotten name
into the coiled cavernous
spiral of the seashell.
I invoke your name, Ianthe,
in the hope I can still become
the man I intended to be.


Warm Blooded

I read somewhere that wolves
Are monogamous animals;
Fanged and silver-suited,
Tossing profanities to the moon,
Wolves are monogamous animals.

I thought of this on a wooden bench
In Berlin, cotton-mouthed next to a boy
Who slipped me a small pink candy,
Slipped a hand through my hair,
Slipped his wants into me
Just the night before.

I thought of it when his face dropped
When he sought an answer to
“Why’d you come here?”
(To bury a body, to learn to become).
I thought of his sorriness.

Wolves are monogamous animals.
I was stripped to bones and soul in Berlin
By a boy who appeared to bare fangs
After a small pink candy,
And was given his sarong from Bali
For keeps,
For warmth,
For remembrance
The next morning.

I was sitting on a bench in Berlin
Thinking of wolves
And the warm-blooded love
Of mammals.


Jackie Braje is a senior English literature and creative writing major at the University of Tampa. She works as a bookseller at the Oxford Exchange, the Arts & Entertainment editor at The Minaret, and the assistant editor of literary journal Neon. She’s a freelance music journalist at Creative Loafing and has been published at Suburban Apologist and TampaBayScene.

Monique Briones, a Philadelphia native, majors in English writing and economics and minors in English literature at the University of Pittsburgh. She enjoys Argentinian tango, baking, blogging, and Pilates. She has been writing poems and stories since she was eight.

Steven Childress, is a junior English major at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. He sings in a rock band, Hurkamur. He has previously had fiction and photography published in The Bellwether Review, a literary magazine from Portland Community College, and has also helped print two issues of it as well.

Jumoke Ekunseitan, a junior English major from Alabama State University, is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She participates in the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, and serves as an editor on the Hornet yearbook staff. This is her first publication.

Annie Gough is from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and is currently a senior English major at Kalamazoo College. She studied abroad for a semester last year in Aberdeen, Scotland, where she fell in love with the Highlands and haggis. She loves baking and working as a member of the grounds crew at her school’s arboretum. She has had poetry published in the online journal, Untitled, with Passengers.

Kent Grosswiler, is senior English major and creative writing minor at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He also paints, plays the drums, does spoken word and stand-up comedy, and spends any free time after that with his Great Dane, Luis.

Rebecca Keers-Flood, a senior literature major at Stockton University, is from Metuchen, New Jersey. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, is on the Ultimate Frisbee Team, and is a writing tutor at Stockton’s Writing Center.  She has been published in her university’s literary magazine, The Stockpot, and was a semifinalist in the 2013 Norman Mailer College Poetry Award Contest.

Tina Lentz is an undergraduate at Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English and has poems published in the Switchgrass Review and a riverSedge: A Journal of Art and Literature.

Natalie Martell, a junior at Kalamazoo College, is studying creative writing and anthropology/sociology. When she is not playing Cat Stevens songs on the guitar, she loves to climb mountains and write poems about it. She has wanted to be a writer since the first grade.

Belinda McCauley is a junior at Kalamazoo College majoring in creative writing and theatre arts. She recently spent a semester in Scotland, where she became well acquainted with the delicious local cuisine and the beautiful scenery.

Alyssa Neal, a junior double-majoring in liberal studies and communication disorders at the University of Houston, is from San Antonio, Texas. She is a member of the Honors College and participates in her local NSSLHA chapter. She’s been a voracious reader and writer since she could pick up a book.

Tiffany St. John is originally from Toledo, Ohio. She studies psychology at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Catherine Hope Sullivan is a senior English major at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana. Inspired by the works of Seamus Heaney, Mary Szybist, and Rainer Rilke, she has written a series of poems linking humanity to the natural world. She hopes to write poetry until the end of her days.

Jarred Thompson is a junior at Alabama State University, majoring in English with a concentration in film studies. He is a native of South Africa, plays on the tennis team for ASU, and has aspirations to become an accomplished novelist, poet, critic, and possibly playwright.