the sound of a bell
held captive
in the steeple
built not on the blood
of Man, but on the tears
of his mother.
Baptized in her pain:
A young girl,
daisies in her hair,
rose on lips; eyes
on her, consecrated.
Small spot on her
white dress, Sacrament.


Yellow, yolk of egg,
easily broken, hidden in the shell
of what could have been. Yellow,
the color of blood lacking
iron—drained of the strength
to preserve itself. Sweat stains,
bad breath, dry skin seeps under
nails, cakes palms with nervous,
rotten—Yellow, belly of eel,
craven bottom-dweller, untouched
by light, but, still, somehow, electric.
Power, pulled by nervous routine,
burst of current, poured within
Yellow, the flame of iron ignited
in air. Sunflower, reaching toward light;
Black Eyed Susan, fists high, bared
to fight—Yellow, belly of woodpecker,
needle beak, heavy on birch, knocks,
hopes—bark pulled back Yellow,
sticky, sweet: Welcome home.

A Sad Midwest Essay

american gothic (2)

Nowhere; you’re in the middle of it.

Corn is the only metaphor available to you. Illinois actually produces more soybeans than corn annually, but you still choose corn as the metaphor because it is more relatable to the general population. You compare your skin as it dries in the autumn breeze to the recently scythed cornhusks withering in the dusk. The corn will be stamped into the earth by months of harsh midwest winter weather just as Johnson & Johnson moisturizer will be slathered onto your face when you go back inside. You only came out here to contemplate corn, hoping to derive from it more than a metaphor for dry skin. Your hopes are dashed. It is just corn. You are just a sad midwest writer. Continue reading “A Sad Midwest Essay”

When It Rains, It Floods

Piglet-looks-out-at-the-rain1When we were younger, my family would watch storms together. We rolled up the garage door, and sat in lawn chairs, just under the edge of the roof. Close enough to the rain to touch it, but not close enough to get wet. We only watched when there was lightning. If there was just a shower, we kept inside. We liked to feel the electricity in the air.

Last spring in Galesburg, the city where I sometimes live, the Spoon River tipped its banks and spilled down a hill into a student lounge at Carl Sandburg College. The force of the water was so strong that it ripped the doors of the building off its hinges and set computer desks afloat. The rest of the city flooded, too. People were stranded, afraid their homes would be destroyed. The most I saw was the mote around my school’s library. We live on a hill. Continue reading “When It Rains, It Floods”