poetry


R.S. Mitchell
A Soul in Four Seasons


Sarah Gajkowski-Hill
The Job Poems


Beth Gylys
Grace


Beth Gylys
What the Evil Dream


Beth Gylys
Moonlit Trance


Beth Gylys
Her Faith


Jeffrey Dennis Pearce
Flight into Egypt


Amanda Glass
A Birth


Robert Meade
House of Gold


Paul Stilwell
Hidden Life


Mark Amorose
Caduceus


Mark Amorose
Incredulity


John Gosslee
Purple Wren


John Gosslee
Scattered Seeds


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Grace

Grace...comes unbidden.
— Ralph T. Wilson

After the fight, after the air’s charge held
stiff in the car, after wrong turns, a breakfast
of hard fruit and stale pastry and arriving late,

we descended into the caves holding flashlights. 
Mid-August, but cold enough for sweaters,
and damp. We walked on a surface that looked

like the surface of some moon: gray and pocked
with dips and impressions. Shoes scuffled 
across the slippery stone. Now and then,

a drop of water fell from a mystery above. 
Our guide, a young, blonde woman, walked 
steadily in front of us without a light. 

After a half an hour of up and down 
and ducking through narrow passages,
we arrived in a large, open space and were told

to turn out our lights. It felt as if we stood 
inside a cathedral or the grossly enlarged 
chamber of a heart, the walls stretched above us, 
							
shadowy and distant. They seemed to have a pulse. 
We huddled and whispered, and even our whispers
sent echoes. An arm of light smacked the face

of the wall, landed on what looked like a talented 
child’s sketches: the dark outlines of buffaloes, 
ibexes and horses. Some had arrows pointing 

into their sides. Our guide moved her beam 
across the surface. “The drawings,” she says, 
“date back to the ice age—17 thousand years. 

It’s impossible to know the intent of the artists. 
Perhaps these were images depicting the hunt, 
or perhaps the unique quality of the cave: 

its size and acoustics, had spiritual meaning.”
Some of the paintings were half washed away, 
while others were made with bold fresh strokes. 

The outlines of some overlapped the outlines 
of others: heads or chins of buffalo invaded 
the backs of horses or other buffalo. A few places, 

only part of an animal showed: a section of mane 
or the smooth line of a haunch. Several 
of the images seemed to smile or look sad.

Simple figures, simply wrought. Why 
was I weeping? We stood not speaking
for what seemed a long time, then ascended 				
quietly, quickly, blinking as we stepped 
past post cards, coke machines, flash bulbs, 
and flush toilets. A too-wide web of world.

Meanwhile, beneath our feet, animals,
rich as kept secrets, stilled in darkness.

--Beth Gylys

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Currently an Associate Professor at Georgia State University, Beth Gylys has published two award-winning collections of poetry: Spot in the Dark (Ohio State UP 2004) and Bodies that Hum (1999 Silverfish Review Press), and her work has appeared in many journals and magazines.