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William Jewell College

500 College Hill

Liberty, MO 64068

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Poetry

Remains

Ashlyn Bashore

I’m seven and at the golf course,
alone on a bench.
Jagged, rotting wood
splinters my skin
as my legs swing
back and forth.


I can see my dad, just
barely on the green.
He strangles the neck
of his club, scalping
the grassy head, drags
it behind him
as he moves away.


I have one cup of water, stolen
from the bathroom,
untouched. Next to it,
a large, winged ant.
It crawls on my arm, small legs,
stinging nerves as it travels.


I turn my hand, enable
its path, smile at my new
companion.
I follow around
and around until
it stops, settles
on my fist. The wings
shine in the light, beginning
to beat in earnest.


Curious,
I rip them off,
drag the ant into the cloudy cup.
It squirms in the water,
then sinks slowly
to the bottom.


But the wings are soft
between my fingers
and they look to me

like opals, in the palm
of my open hand.

 

On the Topic of My Memory-Loss

Cameron White

Polaroids, through

dust devils and

dates that don’t ex-

ist now.

 

Rings and some hope-

less things sit un-

abashed and boxed

away.

 

A glass of foss-

ilized water

poured and yet for-

gotten.

 

A pencil-traced

I Love You. Pa-

perless trails

and pins.

 

So yes,

memory re-

mains, most stubborn

Forget-me-nots

 

Self Talk

Savannah Hawley

I am lying here,

Tossed by the winds of my thoughts.

 

There’s a torrent in my

Head, relentlessly

Taunting me with the imperfections

I failed to hide away.

 

But I can barely get a word in.

 

A storm spinning faster until

Its tumultuous winds

Begin tearing the shingles off the

Crumbling roof of my thoughts.

 

But it’s all in my head.

 

It destroys faster than I

Can choke the words out

To tell it that I’d very much like

If it left me alone.

 

But I’m trying.

 

Suddenly I realize, what

Lies beyond my bent-out

Frame is good. There’s sunshine available.

It may be storming now,

 

But the sun will come,

And I will be washed anew.

 

Dermatillomania

Savanah Malam

Even now, every moment,

you feel you are enough,

yet the edges of your nails enter eagar

into unknown territory.

 

Frustrated, you fragment your skin

like the frocks seen on fashionable folks.

Familiar, the cells flip in between

your flaxen fingertips.

 

Grab the skin, graze the surface

until it's glazed with blood, gawk

at the gruesome mess. Grope

the skin back together.

 

Hack until bruises hinder

your complexion.

Hit your right hand, not haphazardly,

one two three.

 

See if the integers will cure the itch.

Inside you, you infer

a small instant urge

ignites, charing your flesh.

 

Just stop. Jot down your thoughts,

jog the jutting roads,

try to find a joke funny.

Your life is not a jury,

but you jerk your body like it is.

 

Diner Poetry

Harper Vincent

Static, sticky energy sits
In the space between mouths, forks,
And buzzy budget speakers—
Can I pray to Sound for the space to be silent?


Because I scream and scratch
To hear It bounce off scattered dish and glass
And douse our dry vibrations,
Sputtering and stale.

 

Figurine

Anna Warner

Church crowd cheers

like automatic
gunfire. Demurely she
walks, mother of our
God, but we
know—“ceremonial
leader” catches
between
our teeth, drawing
blood
like unpracticed
flossing.


We cannot see
her eyes.


They never told
us about her—not
without dubious
obedience, careful
shrouds. “The Holy
will overshadow” her, us.
Be glad for that.

from Incarnadine by Mary Szybist

 

Chain Linked Lucifer

Denver Strong

I crawl up a cold stone, slightly damp
like the surface of ice.
The ridges in the rock are wet,
wind makes it hard to grip.
Each time I fall, tears
make the face slicker.
Shackles weigh down the right foot.
I struggle to climb
while the chain I'm fastened to
slides with ease across the stone.


Its two-ton links silently slither
following a metallic body around my legs
to the cold on my back.
From my shoulder,
a red manganese head whispers lies.
Another yellowish iron skull restricts my arm –
a boa constricting what's right.
A final matte black scalp carves fresh abrasions under my left arm
leaving remnants of an already war torn t-shirt.
If a dog chooses his owner,
the metallic beast is a stray I can't escape.
I pray for the warmth of a body.
This one's six bat-like wings freeze me
with every breath I take.


At the head of the stone,
a small red flame begins to flicker.
Slowly growing brighter until
I can see the orange fiery wings
accented with hints of blue.
The fire bird screeches.
The stunned serpent stays.
Clawing at its tail,
a phoenix breaks my shackles
but the heads hold tighter.
Like a giant's hand
determined to pull itself from the ground.
As I pry myself away,
yellow claws pierce the serpent's iron head.
The weight of my burdens clatter on the stone.
The claws gently take my enervated body
as I fade from my fantasy.


Inspired by Brantley Gilbert’s “Devil Don’t Sleep” and Dante’s Inferno

 

Your Colorful Words

Jazmyne Ross

I remember
The loud begrudging moan
of the garage door
As your car pulled in
The sound of the door
Clicking


During this time of night,
Your voice always carried
Like you were shouting
To the world.
Your body swayed like
Blades of grass in the spring
But there was no draft
Not in our home.


The only cool air
Came from your mouth
With a heavy, sour taste


My mother and I
Soon learned
To close our bedroom doors
Lest we wished to bear witness
To all of your colorful words


Your words were blue
Sip.
I realize that the only
reason you drank
Was because you had
Grown much too big

To simply cry.


Your words were yellow
Sip.
Shyness seemed to keep you
Like its pet.
Only when you drank,
Was when you thought
You were free.


Your words were clear
Sip.
I had never seen a man
Gain and lose so many people
Over a drink.


When it all became quiet,
I could hear your soft snoring
Through the walls.
I thought that I could release you
From the bottom of a bottle


I remember the jolt of pain
From hearing your heavy
Footsteps

Your words were red
Sip.
I remember this
Stinging of the mouth.
When I was clutching
My jaw

 

My Imposter Syndrome

Denver Strong

"Denver, would you mind staying after class?"
She can't see I've turned ghost white with the question.


Has she figured out I'm not as smart as she thinks I am?
That I depend too much on my classmates for help.


Regurgitating practice problems on test questions.
I'm lucky to know those specific examples.


"I just need you to set up the lab at some point."
"Yeah, I can do that later today."


"Congratulations on your program, too. You're a smart man."
"I just got in because no one else applied."