I wasted time on Christmas and was vexed
That none remained to read of Gawaine’s rage
When he had sinned. The pseudo-Gothic text
Clung half-effaced and melting to the page
Like soiled snow at springtime. Why is white
The color we assign to purity?
The frost must fade when it is touched by light.
The snow cannot maintain its sanctity.
A footprint mars perfection. How a stain
Shows up on spotless cloth! A drop of blood,
A blot of ink, a black thought on the brain,
The blight of insect bite on newborn bud.
A slip in lust and Gawaine’s stainless name
Became synonymous with guilt and shame.

by Ellie Biswell

Ellie Biswell is a junior at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO. She loves to read authors like Austen, Wodehouse and Tolkien. Her future plans include writing and teaching English.

Grandpa Says

“A woman’s like the seatbelt of your car—
a sudden jerk and it’ll lock up tight.
But pull it slow and it'll go as far
as your arm stretches. If you wear it right
you'll never know you’re tied down in the least.
In fact, it’s comforting—a gentle hand
upon your chest, an arm around your waist.
You’ll underestimate how much that band
protects you. Sometimes you’ll be hurried when
you yank it and it locks. You’ll pitch a fit,
but simply let it go and start again.
Annoying, isn’t it? But if you hit
a truck or swerve into an overpass,
you’ll thank the Lord it saved your sorry ass.”

by James Wilk

James Wilk is a physician in Denver, Colorado, specializing in medical disorders complicating pregnancy. His work has appeared, or is slated to appear, in Measure, The Raintown Review, Pearl, Barefoot Muse, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review and others. His 2007 chapbook, Shoulders, Fibs, and Lies, is available from the author or through Pudding House Press.

Table of Contents    Next Poem(s)   Guidelines