Hearts – Creative Nonfiction by Donna Walker-Nixon


My husband has concluded when this life ends, we slide into a sink hole of nothingness and that’s that. A friend who turns 88 this year wants to go to sleep and wake up dead. That view provides more comfort than the Sink Hole Theory of Life after Death, but not enough.

Every day I plead to a distant Being, “God, please exist!”

Brother Dan Cox, a thin, gaunt, stooped man, sank into the thinning carpet of Eastside Church of Christ as he attempted to lead us in singing. We tried to join him as we followed two syllables behind. “Here I labor and toil as I look for a home, just a humble abode among men.” The ancient old people believed they’d die and wind up in the mansion God prepared for them.

I never completely embraced that view, but then again I was scared I’d fall into
hell’s sink hole for drifting from their accepted views. So I went to the front of the church one Sunday and Brother Boyd baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When I was immersed, I struggled to breathe and fought against his hands to rise out of the water—ironically not to be bathed in newness of life, but just to be able to breathe air. I pondered if my baptism was real since all of my body did not touch the water and I had struggled against the preacher when he tried to dunk me in the water. All the probing a child who does not know theology and faith might ask.

A Life Incompletely Lived

We called our grandmother Mrs. Joiner. We loved her beyond measure, but she told and retold death stories, which we could recite word by morbid word.

Hortense Patricia Davenport taught special education at Castleberry Elementary with her. Maybe she gave herself perms that resulted in frazzled blue swirls in the middle of her balding blue scalp.

Maybe her stomach became a rotunda and she could not find girdles that did not settle in circles under her waist, and at church she tugged at her undergarment in desperation to control that which could not be controlled.

She and her husband Grady fought to see their granddaughter Patti-Ann after their daughter died suddenly. The abusive ex-husband and his mother would not budge in denying them visitation rights with the little girl, who each day remembered less and less about her mother and grandparents.

Hortense retired, determined to gain access to her only grandchild. Two months later she died of idiopathic heart failure. She had taken her retirement in monthly stipends. After her death, the installments ceased. Grady had nothing to tide him over, and he took a job delivering phone books—not enough for him to continue the lawsuit.

Mrs. Joiner brooded and repeated the story every weekend, thinking she shed one more view to Hortense’s sad saga. There were no new angles to analyze, but Mrs. Joiner insisted she had discovered one.

A life well lived

Grampa Hanson called her Toughy, and she sneaked into the garden today and devoured a fig from the Tree of Life. God might have said, “Do not eat from this tree,” but Toughy devoured the fruit’s pulp and climbed higher than a kite skimming the outer limits of all we know on earth.

I repeat details of the funeral service and say, “At her funeral” until Tim nods, tired of my rambling and repetition.

She died five days before her mother’s birthday. People reproach with hollow words, “She was a smoker, you know”—from high school until the day she took her last pyrrhic breath, hoarse, unable to speak above a faint whisper.

“I don’t want a whole lot of sermon. Keep your talk as short as you can,” she directed the preacher when he came to the house her parents owned and she lived in as she made pencil drawings of the cabin she planned to build on the south side of the family ranch.

We think there should be a certain gravitas when we cross the home base of life—but that is not the truth. At the visitation, her baby sister kept saying, “She’s got boobs.” Something she may have been deprived of in life.

These words see us through, not the preacher’s vague pronouncements about her life well lived or predictions of her new life in heaven: “She’s playing horseshoes with Grampa Hanson” or “I know we’ll meet again and kick up our heels like when she was alive and we took the trip of a lifetime to New York City.”
Words don’t wipe away the tears of her grandson who barely finished the grand entrance of the huge family and who went on the trip. He’d just received an award in school, and now he cried, the way small children do at the loss of a toy, but Toughy will not be present when he escorts another sophomore in the homecoming court or any court.

Still, Toughy enjoyed a life well lived. Grampa Hanson could not purge awkward visions of children with deep black and yellow sunken circles that sprawled into spider webs.

Without words, they uttered low expressions of human misery, “Save us! Please.” When he and his wife Myrtle moved, they turned their home into a sanctuary for children in distress. In 1960 the first group of children came to live in the home they donated to the fledgling Hanson’s Home for Children.

Grampa Hanson first recognized need and took action because someone must do something—and he felt self-appointed to undertake what needed doing. Toughy recognized hearts in need, and assumed roles of mentor and foster mother, saying, “It needed doing, and I did it. There was no other choice.” She had mottos that formed the framework of her life: “Leave it better than you found it” and “I know good hearts when I see ‘em.”

A Life Partially Lived

Jolie never had a good heart.

Her purple Barney the Dinosaur lips caused people to stare momentarily at the creature she feared she transformed into. Then they gazed into her eyes and pretended she looked normal. Her distended abdomen made her appear pregnant, and too many times for comfort, well meaning people asked, “When’s that baby due?”
When she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism, she may have dreamed of working for a national news outlet and like Chris Wallace asking pertinent questions to the President of the United States: why did you confiscate the notes the translator took during your meeting with Putin?

Or perhaps, she dreamed of sitting around a fire place with her husband cradling newborns. She didn’t know how many, but enough to make a house a home. After the birth of each child Mama would stay a few weeks to comfort her during this time of adjustment.

Mama came. She watched Jolie’s lips turn a deeper purple and her stomach more distended with each year, then month, then week, and finally day while they prayed for a match for a liver, kidney, or heart transplant. Ghoulishly, they waited and prayed for someone to die so Jolie could thrive.

Her obituary stated: “Jolie battled health problems her entire life with grace, strength, and courage. She was an example to all of the power of prayer and faith. We rejoice in her renewed body, but miss her presence here dearly.”
Her heart was not good. It never was.

Like Toughy, with grace and grit Jolie understood truths we seldom fathom and beauties we never admit.


Donna Walker-Nixon was a full professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, where she received the distinction of receiving the Mary Stevens Piper award for excellence in teaching. She currently serves as an adjunct lecturer at Baylor. She lists her five primary professional achievements as 1) founding Windhover: A Journal of Christian Literature in 1997, 2) co-editing the Her Texas series with her friend and mentor James Ward Lee, 3) co-founding The Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas 4) publishing her novel Canaan’s Oothoon, and 5) serving as lead editor Her Texas, which has boosted Donna’s faith that the voices of women writers and artists truly mean something to both men and women.

Leeds-Bradford Airport – a poem by Sam Hickford

Leeds-Bradford Airport

(genuine thanks to Rahul Gupta, the proper scop, for teaching me so much about poetry.)

“With its strong underlying fundamentals including freehold ownership with well-invested infrastructure, a diversified airline mix and its catchment area in an economic hub of the North of England, Leeds Bradford Airport is a highly attractive investment and a great fit for AMP Capital’s global infrastructure platform.” – Simon Ellis, AMP Capital, 2017

(According to historian Roy Price, Yeadon – where Leeds-Bradford Airport is based – was used by a nearby Celtic tribe to worship and bury the dead.)

…a bone-white plough. her beak
over rides one “brinded cow” (liveried in white & brown.) she surges,
surges. she mounts the boundary stones, emerging, merging with mist &
ploughs the cotton-mill clouds. the Celts lie deep, sleeping in
..now, her winded-wound crest beams her into the self-same
shroud They gestured to. (you imagine processions of red & white.)
carbonic incense tapers down…

…that deaf-grazing cow, behind
barbed-wire-boundary-stone, has a moment of respite: a
briared river’s flow’s brown & white, in moon-of-evening’s
hushed-up light…

…wild-fowl: they whimper
wearied moon-wet lullabies. their home’s a nearby
Dam quite drowned in the drone of ryanairs bleating across t’ Aire…

…a Tesco bag braves the
cross-wind. it’s abstract now: its plough-songs
of white-of-bone.


Sam Hickford is a poet and freelance writer. He has written for The Guardian, Catholic Herald and The Tablet, and his poetry has appeared in Ink, Sweat and Tears.

Illuminating – a poem by Kelly-Girl Johnston


The den is an inky
bluish black,
murky like
rain has
fountain jets,
soaking the place
with fluid darkness.

A small yellow bulb
pitches a triangle of
onto an empty
—an open book
to keep the reader’s place.

* * *

Kelly-Girl Johnston is an autistic writer, visual artist, nascent coder and educator based in The Bronx, NYC, where she teaches English and Art History at a visual arts-focused high school. Kelly’s work reflects her neurodivergent perception of time, sound, and social interaction, among other things. Forthcoming publications include the Blue Mountain Review. Much of her time is spent meditating, drawing, workshopping at Poets House and staring into space. Kelly speaks, reads, writes and listens in Arabic, Farsi, some Slovak, a bit of Spanish and her native English.

Summer Sunday – a poem by Edward Alport

Summer Sunday

On a day like this
When the sun beats down like an accusation
And the heart pants for cooling streams,
Any shade is succour to the soul.

The church beckons
With a sweet, cool dimness,
A not-quite-silence,
And a not-quite-scent.
The comfort of habit
And the distant caress
Of someone I knew once
And might have once loved me.

I know, from bleak experience
How the east wind here has no mercy,
Eroding gravestone lettering
And hasty resolutions.
But on a day like this
Every sense is wallowing in bliss.


Edward Alport is a proud Essex Boy and retired teacher. He occupies his time as a gardener and writer for children. He has had poetry published in a variety of webzines and magazines. When he has nothing better to do he posts snarky micropoems on Twitter as @cross_mouse.

Better than We Could Dream to Be– a poem by Sarah A. Etlinger

Better than We Could Dream to Be–

Listen to the wind singing memory to sleep
its lullaby in the leaves Spring and summer
are coming and so are you rising from the fog
and waiting for me to find you just as I found you
that day we walked to the beach feet combing
the sand and another wind to swirl my hair
your hand in the waves Listen to the gulls
heavy in the sky their calls brief blessings
we walk long as the day stretching before us
light far as the eyes hold and then dissolves
into magic Listen to the magic echo in the water
the air our shapes on cragged rocks
peninsular in the sky the foam lacing
the waves Listen to the tide skirmish
across the water engraving the earth
down upon the sand again we hold ourselves
fast against the coming of time Listen to
hymns whispered in the horizon as it hurls
hurtles across corduroy fields careless as rocks
Listen for the tousle of pebbles the sigh
in sunset the song in clouds as I bury
sinews of my memory in beads chains
I will wear as April peels to May spring
and summer are coming and so are you the deep
breath of spring the only sound I will hear
we are not what we believe we are
we are roots come back as light as breath
as dust and wind longer than it all
prayer in the trees.


Sarah A. Etlinger is an English professor who resides in Milwaukee, WI. A Pushcart-nominated poet, she is author of two chapbooks: Never One for Promises (Kelsay Books, 2018) and Little Human Things (Clare Songbirds, forthcoming Fall 2019). You can find her work in places like Neologism Poetry Journal, The Magnolia Review, and Brine.

Behind the Mask – a poem by Deborah Guzzi

Behind the Mask

Like chalk-dust on a blackboard, the sky
hid the sins of the father from the children of Switzerland.
Nationalism fostered by religious intolerance erased
the glorious art of Catholicism by writ, replacing
it with barren rock. This humanist art taught the lessons
of another age, one without Martin Luther.

plaster frescos cringe
beneath the fall of the pick-ax
an artist wails

A daunting stinginess surfaces with white-wash,
taunt linen, hidden wealth, a Godhead of excess
denied the protest removes the jewels caste
before swine. Age after age, worldwide, victors
deface the art of King’s and kingdoms before them.

folds of golden drapery
halo the Madonna

Under a self-imposed dome the Swiss meander,
oatmeal plain, faces seeped in symmetry with downcast eyes.
Their crowns restrained by the pulling back of poker-straight,
mousy-brown hair. Breeders stroll, chicks in check,
the carriages denote the financial status of their mates.
In a white world, in a daydream screaming of
Logan’s Run, few beyond childbearing years
are seen. The muddy water beneath their feet
occasionally permits a brown-skinned-race
into servitude.

Today, Mark Chagall’s windows enlighten
the dour walls and blank naves of Fraumunster
church. His figures blur, their bodies’ metaphors
restrained by the concept of idolatry. Fractured
by beads of metal and shards of colored glass
the Prophets, Jacob, Christ, and Moses
rise above the ordinary toward heaven.

a relief of color
engulfs the viewer with glory
tears fall


Deborah Guzzi is the author of The Hurricane available through Prolific Press. Her poetry appears in Allegro, Amethyst Review, Creative Writing Ink Competition, Shooter, & Foxglove Journal in the UK, also in Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Greece, Spain, France, India & in dozens in the USA.

Grace – a poem by Ariella Katz


tassel eared red-tinged squirrels scampering
to the top of the birch
inching their bellies upward

on black spring bark wet with dew
paws thumping, tails racing, branches trembling
tails quivering like rival trumpets, teasing

each other to the tip of a slender
branch sagging beneath their weight…
a flash of red

just the tuc tuc tuc of a wood pecker
far below

the two ducks splashing
in a puddle don’t seem to notice falling
or flying squirrels.


Ariella Katz is a Boston native living in Moscow, Russia. Her writing has appeared in Arion, The Gate, and East from Chicago. She is the co-editor of Does the Sun Have a Light Switch? A Literary Criminal Almanac, an anthology of stories and poetry by formerly incarcerated people in Moscow.

Meet You Running – a poem by Judy DeCroce

Meet You Running

I am thirty or eighty
asleep, awake, the same,

sliding around a slippery joinery
where dreams occlude phases of
my life.

a child…
a love…
a death…

Here I am without pain
squinting to a sandy ocean…
beside us, a dog smiles.

I flip through events, years.

there is not even you, till I close my eyes
     and meet you running.


Judy DeCroce, a former teacher, is a poet and flash fiction writer.
She has been published in Pilcrow & Dagger, Amethyst Review, The Sunlight Press, Cherry House Press- Dreamscape:An Anthology, and many others.

She is a professional storyteller and teacher of that genre. Judy lives and works in upstate New York with her husband writer/artist Antoni Ooto

Next – a short story by Wayne-Daniel Berard


(from Tony deMello)

“Well, that’s appropriate. Of course. Leave it to you not to do anything ironic.”

Bernie had just told his best friend that he had an enlarged heart. All johnnied and propped up. In his bed in the emergency room. And Bill was making jokes.

All was right with the world.

Just the tips of Bernie’s lips turned up in that little, enigmatic Buddha smile of his. Appropriate again. As Bernie was a Buddhist.

“So that would make you a Jewbu?” his best friend had said, decades before, when Bernie had revealed his new spiritual orientation. This was the weekend before Bill’s ordination at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. “Yeah, “he had written on the back of the gold-embossed invitation, “place looks as convoluted as its name. Like a tour of Church kitsch in stone! So wear your Red Sox yarmulke and orange om-shawl — only don’t you dare come to me for communion in front of Bishop Bad Ass! I can’t turn you down, and my first assignment will be chaplain at Our Lady of Antarctica School. Staffed by real penguins.

The two had met as 9th graders at St. Xavier Classical (or as Bill liked to call it, Solomon Schecter Extension; it was the sole private school in the area and prided itself on openness). Close to a quarter of his class was Jewish, including Bernie. Small, skinny and quiet, adept at track and tennis, not football or hockey, and incurably big-hearted, he’d might as well have had a bull’s eye tattooed to his backside. Except for Bill. They’d been paired up in freshman religion class, Catholic Christianity 1– “no exemptions for extenuating circumcisions,” even then Bill was a quipper – and the middle linebacker and rink “enforcer” received his first A with their joint report on the Jewish Jesus. That was all it took. An accommodating AD made sure Bernie and Bill were in all the same classes together; the future two-sport All American never even saw a C. Honestly. Bernie had a faculty for languages, and could translate anything into Yiddish, Polish, or Jockish. Bill never had to cheat, and wouldn’t have asked him. And the budding roshi never had to watch his back. The two were best and life-long friends.

Not long before graduation, Bill had asked Bernie how he liked being a Jew. With his typical sawed-off smile and cadence, he’d answered, “Can’t be sure. Literally. You?” Bill answered the question by entering Catholic seminary. Bernie became a Buddhist monk.

Now, a lifetime later, the two friends sat across a hospital room from each other, a pair of parentheses between which glistened only unbounded trust.

“I know what you’re thinking,” said Bill. ‘What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vender? Make me one with everything!’ But not yet, buddy. No final oneness for you. Too soon.”

“Not ready,” Bernie’s smile lines sagged just a little. “Still a vacuum cleaner.”

His clerical friend affected the “pastoral pause pose,” head turned and tilted to the side, eyebrows knit together.

‘Wait, I know this one . . . ‘Too many attachments,’ right?”

They laughed. Bernie’s breathing rippled like a tide.

“This could be the perfect time,” he said.

“Oh, don’t start with that stuff again, please, Don’t-Answer-Me!” Bill loved to riff off his friend’s Buddhist name, Doansunim.

“Procedure tomorrow. Never know.”

“I know! And you need to know, too!”

“Can’t be sure,” the monk’s eyes glistened.

“I’m sure I don’t believe in that stuff. You write out a will yet?”

Now Bernie’s eyebrows made namaste.

“I’m assuming you left everything to yourself,” Bill went on. “Seeing as you’re coming back anyway.”

The afterlife, or specifically the nature thereof, was the only thing the two had ever argued about. Bernie called them “spirited discussions.” Bill called him fruit-loopy.

Doansunim leaned closer, so much so that a ringer started chiming.

“Afraid of being wrong? Or right?”

“I’m not afraid of anything, Donuts-n’-Cream!” Father Bill growled. But his eyes showed the one thing; his hands gently guided his friend back toward his pillows.

“Okay, Padre P.O.’d,” said Bernie. “Tired. CD’s in the bag.” And he closed his eyes.
Bill quickly scanned the beeping screens. Nothing changed. He got up and rummaged through the orange sling bag with the embroidered ying-yang beside the bed. Found the CD. Brian Weiss. Guided past-life regression.

“Oh, Done-Suing-Me!” he sighed to himself. But slipped it into his black suit coat pocket.

The next morning, Bill settled in to his recliner in one of the three parish offices he maintained. Solo. Clicked the button on his CD player. Closed his eyes.

A stone stairway. Beautiful garden at the foot of it. Wandering through. Then a door in the garden wall. And . . .

Bill almost shook himself out of it. Everything had gone black. He could hear. Voices, birds, a wind ruffling broad, dry, palm fronds — how did he know that? The only Palms he’d ever seen was the casino hotel in Vegas!

He felt packed dirt beneath bare feet. Knew he had a stick in his right hand. He was blind! But still understood exactly where he was headed.

The path curved upwards; he could sense the grade. Soon the air was cooler; he was shaded now. His stick clacked brittlely against something in his path. A stone step. Then another. Soon he could tell by the cessation of breeze that he was up against something solid. He knocked on it.

“Yahaan aayee-ay,” a voice, strong but pleasant, answered. “Come here,” Bill knew it meant. Somehow.

He gently guided the door back. Stepped inside. Soon he was on his knees, forehead to the teak floor. Natural as can be.

“Mahji,” he said. “Dear Mother. I have a question for you. ”

“Of course, Ramu,” answered the Holy Woman. “Utarana – Rise up. What is it?”

“I would like to know what the color green is?” Bill asked, surprised at how nimbly the blind could rise.

“The color green?” the Woman answered.

“Yes, please. All my life I have heard of it. Wondered about it. They say it is close at hand, everywhere. But I am ignorant of it. So please, Mahji, what is this green that escapes me so?”

Bernie heard a rustle of fabric both stiff and supple (how could that be?) Soon he sensed her near him.

“That is a difficult question. For you, Ramu. But let me attempt an answer.”

Then Bill heard the most beautiful sound he had ever heard in his lives. The Dear Mother was humming. The tune began deeply. Resonating in the chest like the seed of a tide. But slowly, attentive to every note, relishing every pause between them, the music began to grow, to expand like a galaxy from a star-bud. It enveloped him in softness, swaddled him in plush tones, completely cornerless, without edges or strain.

When it stopped, Bill wanted nothing more than to wrap himself in that sound forever.

“So,” he could barely whisper, “ the color green is like beautiful, soothing music.”

“Yes, Ramu,” came the response. “Very much like that . . .”

Similar music was playing in the operating room of Savior Sinai (at the patient’s request). “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,” it chanted. “I devote myself to the essence of the lotus’ voice.” But the scene was anything but soothing.

“We’re losing him,” someone’s voice muffled its way through a blue mask.

Bernie already knew this, of course. He was hovering above his body, like a four-winged dragonfly over an open lotus. He could hear all of them, could barely see himself through the crowd gathered around his open heart. Still, his only thought was, “Wonder if Bill played it?”

He didn’t as much see the light as began to bathe in it. Then . . .

The light was blinding. Entirely. But he could hear. Voices, birds, a wind ruffling broad, dry, palm fronds — how did he know that? The only palms he’d ever heard ruffle he’d shaken himself, the lulav in his family’s sukkah. A life past.

He felt cool, smooth stone beneath his bare feet. Marble? Knew he had a staff in his right hand. Blind, always had been. But he understood exactly where he was headed.

The path curved upwards; he could sense the grade. Soon the air was cooler; he was shaded as beneath a colonnade of clouds. Then his staff sounded a tone against something in his path. A step like a steeple bell. Then another. Soon he could tell by the cessation of breeze that he was up against something solid. He knocked on it.

“Adveho hic,” a voice, strong but pleasant, answered. “Come here,” Bernie knew it meant. Classically.

He turned his face for one more whiff of that divine breeze, than leaned back into the door. Stepped inside and turned. Soon he was on his knees, then prostrate on the incensed-soaked floor . Natural as can be.

“Mater Beata,” he said. “Blest Mother. I have a question for you. ”

“Of course, Piatus,” answered the Holy Woman. “Surgo– Rise up. What is it?”

“I would like to know what the color green is?” Bernie asked, surprised with what grace the blind could rise.

“The color green?” the Woman answered.

“Yes, please. All my life I have heard of it. Wondered about it. I know it is merely another earthly thing, and that our eyes should be set higher. But still, I have felt so moved to come and ask you this question. Please, Mater, what is this green, that it compels me so?”

Bernie heard a rustle of fabric both stiff and supple (of course it was). Soon he sensed her near him.

“That is a difficult question. For you, Piatus. But let me attempt an answer.”

Then Bernie felt the most beautiful sensation he had ever felt in his lives. It reminded him of his own mother, wrapping him in a great, soft towel after his immersion in the river. But this was even more plush, completely indulgent of him, forgiving of body and forbearing of mind. A seamless robe. Blest Mother encircled him, enfolded him from head to toe in what seemed like yard upon yard of ease without end, so close and devoted was each myriad strand to the other.

Bernie wanted nothing more than to wrap himself in this feeling forever.

“So,” he almost prayed, “the color green is like soft, soothing velvet?”

“Yes, Piatus,” came the response. “Very much like that . . .”

The end of her day. The Mother took her usual walk in the evening breeze. As she approached a bend on the path, she heard a terrible clatter. An argument and more. She rounded the bend.

There were her two visitors. Kicking at each other. Trying to gouge each other’s unseeing eyes. Roaring at each other like cultures at war.

“It’s music!”

“It’s velvet!”

“It’s music!!”

“It’s velvet!!!”

The Dear Mother turned away, but not away, two dots of light reflected in her grey-green eyes.

“Ironically appropriate,” she breathed . . .

Even Bill’s collar couldn’t get him into the ICU. It was nearly two weeks before he could see his friend, back on the regular corridor.

He almost galloped in. Wearing the kelly green clerical shirt he usually reserved for St. Paddy’s Day. And carrying a big shopping bag. He reached into it.

“Bed, Bath. And Beyond,” he grinned. And pulled out an oversized velvet robe. Green.

Bernie, still weak, motioned to the nurse, who took a brown package from his bed tray table. Amazon logo smiled like a Buddha.

Bill ripped it open with one move.

“Velvet Underground? Really?!”

“It’s music,” Bernie’s smile lines rose up.

“It’s metaphor,” Bill sat down hard on the bed. Bernie unsagged.

“What’s a metaphor?” he asked.

His friend stood up tall, set his shoulders, and said in his best John Wayne:

“It’s for grazin’ my cattle, pilgrim.”

“Oy-veh!” said the nurse. The two friends laughed.

“Okay, buddy! In the chair. Time for a spin around the courtyard,” Bill chimed.

“Outside? Can’t be sure . . . ,” started the nurse.

But they were already at the elevators.

“Seinfeld had you deported,” said Bernie.

“That was Babu. Not Ramu. And at least my name wasn’t Pee-at-us!”

The doors closed. Then opened. Onto one beautiful garden.


Wayne-Daniel Berard, PhD, teaches Humanities at Nichols College, Dudley, MA. He publishes broadly in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His novella, Everything We Want, was published in 2018 by Bloodstone Press. A poetry collection, The Realm of Blessing, will be published in 2020 by Unsolicited Press.