The silver cross hanging from my rearview
mirror, blessed by an Esquipulan priest
with water from la Basilica, holy
Milagroso Cristo Moreno – Patrono
de Guatemala. Saved from the wreckage,
Enterprise Rental mailed la cruz in a
simple white envelope. In my Delta
’88 Oldsmobile, magnificent
replica of my sturdy grandparent’s
car, (the one I crashed in), a friend inquired
about its significance. I told him
my belief is la cruz protects my life.
It’s nice, he said, noticing its luster.
Tarnished I thought, and yet so resilient.


Laura Sweeney facilitates Writers for Life in central Iowa.  She represented the Iowa Arts Council at the First International Teaching Artist Conference in Oslo, Norway.  Her recent poems appear in Appalachia, Hedge Apple, Pilgrimage, Potomac Review, Harpur Palate, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Ithacalit, and St. Katherine’s Review.  Her recent awards include a residency at Sundress Publication’s Firefly Farms, and a scholarship to attend the 2019 Sewanee Writers Conference.

The Bell Tower – a poem by Lynn Woollacott

The Bell Tower


Screenshot 2019-08-20 at 10.18.31

Lynn Woollacott grew up with six brothers and three sisters – all older. She had many jobs from sewing buttons on cardigans to working as a lab technician in an all-girls school. She gained a BSc (Hons) with the Open University and went on to teach environmental studies at outdoor centres in Norfolk. Still yearning to write she studied creative writing with the University of East Anglia. Lynn has been widely published and won prizes for poetry, and has published two poetry collections with Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2011 and 2014, and her historical novel is available on Amazon.

RAISING THE DEAD – an essay by Annie Blake


Reflecting on life to awaken to a fuller realization of reality is a thoroughgoing and painful undertaking. But also serves to relieve and reward as it involves stripping back the burdens and restrictions of old attitudes. Writing is engaging with the Pieta Covenant1 or a relationship with oneself. It is a condition where one is held safely as the other sheds what lies in and between consciousness and the sacred experience.

Building a relationship with the sacred is signing an agreement with faith. The writer’s ego needs to be humble and loyal enough to be able to descend into the shadowy aspects of their being. Under the aegis of the unconscious, messages between conscious and unconscious material, explicated through the art of writing, function as the vehicle carrying the writer as does conversing with an analyst in the therapeutic situation. The writer’s agency, when secure enough, replaces the analyst’s guidance and ability to contain the suffering of the analysand. The writing body and scope participate by taking the form of a receptacle handling the writer’s affects.

Since the sacred delivers to us psychological facts such as dreams,2 one’s individuation journey is, symbolically speaking, contained by Christ’s mother or a loving mother figure to assist in the healing and restoration of our most natural Self. The Transfiguration of Christ, as a harbinger of his resurrection, parallels this crossing over to rebirth whilst inserting an emphasis on its reoccurring and vivifying qualities. So the unconscious, the ego and the writing enters into a dialog and an experiment with language takes place, so that messages produce meaning and in turn, release energy and a life force or entelechy.

Syncretizing these fragmented parts of ourselves which have been formerly disavowed and rejected is akin to raising the dead. In other words, writing mindfully, unlocks the true course of language that has been interrupted due to denial.3

Renewal cannot be achieved without death. Death is not a literal event. Death symbolizes an opening, a threshold, a gate or a door to a consciousness which more generously compliments one’s natural capacity whereby suffering is transformed. It is like walking through a passage or a hallway with numerous doors. Or as depicted in many dreams, an invitation up a winding staircase or down a basement. Dreams are the main portal to the sacred because they present our inner state without resistances or defense mechanisms.

And heavily depending upon the associations and experiences of the writer, this experimentation with language, reconciles the tensions within the writer by breaking down one’s too confined experience of life.4 No single formula exists, or dream book or sermon or ideology which can direct this journey because when the interfacial process of consciousness and the sacred comes into play, an internal quest which is entirely separate from the mainstream, takes hold. And the process must remain in a state of flux so one must relinquish the collective’s proclivity towards brittle logic and rationality. Because the unconscious is like a sea which fluctuates and flows asymmetrically – it is, substantially, a feminine fluidity that can only prove creational if, through our own agency, we are receptive and nurturing towards our own vulnerabilities.

And that is how the sacred or the unconscious, for the sake of evolution, communicates with and sustains the writer. Creators rotate the eternal story of raising Lazarus from the dead because it adumbrates the resurrection of Christ. This constantly reminds us how the sacred urges us to fulfil and nourish this greater circular and moving narrative.5

1. Grotstein J. S. Who is the Dreamer Who Dreams the dream? A Study of Psychic Presences. Routledge, 2009
2. Jung C.G. Dream Analysis–Notes of the Seminar Given in 1928-30 (Volume One). Routledge, 1938
3. Dorpat T. L. Denial and Defense in the Therapeutic Situation. Jason Aronson Inc., 1985
4. Von Franz M. L. The Golden Ass of Apuleius: The Liberation of the Feminine in Man. Shambhala, 1992
5. Liew B.T.S, Runions E. Psychoanalytic Mediations between Marxist and Postcolonial Readings of
the Bible. Society of Biblical Literature, 2016


Annie Blake’s research aims to exfoliate branches of psychoanalysis. She enjoys semiotics and exploring the surreal and phantasmagorical nature of unconscious material. Her work is best understood when interpreting them like dreams. She is a member of the C G Jung Society of Melbourne. You can visit her on and

Christ – a poem by Irina Kuzminsky



He withdrew only to return

And plant the spirit in the bone

Of human flesh.

His followers – a different matter.

They sought the isolation of the peaks

The solitude of forests and of deserts

Above all – to escape from all too human flesh

And all too human matters.

What He redeemed they sought to punish and abhorred

What He released they sought to bind and caged

Rather than following the narrow path

The path of living in the midst of things

And wrestling with the angel when need be

For God to bless them.


© Irina Kuzminsky


Irina Kuzminsky is a widely published poet and writer; she is also a dancer, singer and composer, who has combined a life in the arts with a rigorous academic background including a doctorate from Oxford. Her passion has long been a quest for the feminine faces of the Divine across spiritual traditions

Who is God if not my Cat? – a poem by Rachel Tanner

“who is god if not my cat?”

sitting still sunning on the rug in front of the window,
he breathes in, breathes out, breathes easy.
he dreams of rabbits, maybe, but i don’t know
if he’s ever seen one; he lives his life indoors.
he’s old now so when he moves, he moves slowly.
intentionally. he knows which turns of his body
will hurt, so he avoids them.

i once had ovarian torsion but
before i knew my organ was
twisted, was rotting, he knew.
he sat on my head, purring
and purring and purring,
refusing to leave me alone.

he loves me when no one else does,
sits with me when no one else will.
what is god if not the thing
that brings you the most comfort?
who is god if not a bundle of
orange fur that yells at me for food
every morning before the sun comes up?


Rachel Tanner is an Alabamian writer whose work has recently appeared in Moonchild Magazine, Barren Magazine, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. She tweets @rickit.

Choreography – a poem by Kathryn MacDonald


Frigate birds soar skyward
become specks of dust in the blue
before slow spirals toward sea
their wingspan increasing
split tails………….like swallows gliding
aerial grace………..becoming
kites on currents
floating on aqua ripples.
Sunshine warms bare legs
spread for balance on the foredeck
eyes shielded against glare
while becoming other
shedding feathers and scales
until reaching the centre
and all drops away.


Kathryn MacDonald is the author of A Breeze You Whisper (poems, 2011), Calla & Édourd (fiction, 2009), and The Farm & City Cookbook (1994). She publishes freelance arts articles and writes “Eclectic Reviews” on her website: She is a past-editor of Key to Kingston magazine and previously on the editorial staff of Harrowsmith and Equinox magazines.

Mr Cassian’s 51st Dream – a poem by Tim Miller

Mr Cassian’s 51st Dream

I watch from the woods as he disperses
not seeds but metals and stone and some coins,
scattering them far over the spring earth
from the satchel slung over his shoulder.
And I stay to watch spring come and I see
bodies there, growing up out of the ground,
nourished by earth and ore and the noon sun.
Some come in pairs, the linked bodies of lovers
come from this celestial agriculture.
And as the year recedes they fall to earth,
bodies returned to the beneath or pecked
by the birds who have been refined in flame,
whole flocks of black stone doing their work
for another winter, and resurrection.
Decay is a tremendous smith, I said,
decay turns heaven and earth into glass
decay melts and slides and makes for revival.
My feet are the wet leaves when I find sleep,
my spirit the slime of slow rotation,
the digging, the overturned, the dark earth.


Tim Miller’s “Mr Cassian” poems are from a collection of poetry and fiction called School of Night. Other pieces from the book have appeared/are forthcoming in Southword, Cutthroat, and Bold+Italic. He is online at

To Feel Transcendent – a poem by Janet Krauss

To Feel Transcendent

It is not taking an imaginary flight
toward stilled tarns locked in sunlight
away from stones pricking your feet under
a low brood of scudding clouds.
It is not sensing a god’s presence dimming
the trees and hills with its blinding rays.
It is catching the glint of a flock of geese
leaving no shadow over the creek
outside your window. It is standing
with a gull near you on the sand
both of you taking in the warmth
of summer air. It is filling your eyes
with the sweeping skeins of winter white
across the sky if you happen to look up.


Janet Krauss, who has two books of poetry published, Borrowed Scenery, Yuganta Press, and Through the Trees of Autumn, Spartina Press, has recently retired from teaching English at Fairfield University. Her mission is to help and guide Bridgeport’s  young children through her teaching creative writing, leading book clubs and reading to and engaging a kindergarten class. As a poet, she co-directs the poetry program of the Black Rock Art Guild. In  May, 2018 her poem, “A View from a Window” was published in Amethyst Review.

Air, Airports – a poem by Marjorie Maddox

Air, Airports
in memory of Anya Krogovoy Silver

After that first conference,
her words still
sparking synapse after synapse,
I took off into air,
her sentences the contraband
I hid behind a skull that looked sane enough
and was, transporting sharp syllables of God
and grief beneath the thin skin
of humanness I clung to more.

She had already returned to her life
down South, but was there also,
twenty rows back from the cockpit,
on the left, stabbing the clouds that somehow,
held us up, hovering together—
fierce, fragile believers—
in a wind we could not see.
All the way home, I re-read her voice,
tap-tapping the plane window.

In between,
after the march for others’ rights,
we read near a New York altar,
she in a vibrant scarf; I in my black sweater
pulled tight when her poems hit
the vaulted ceiling, then hovered
over the nave. The chilly air warmed.

In Michigan’s spring, she read of joy,
afterwards ducking from sleet
that pummeled our heads mid-April
en route to sunny tacos and Margaritas
where four friends chatted children and students,
air and asphalt icing up as we spoke.

Days later, I detoured
around black ice, believing
I’d finally escaped the unexpected
while, closer to death than we knew,
she stood up with friends and strangers
and spoke poems into the stale air
of the Grand Rapids airport,
freely donating words to any stranded
bystander willing to look her in the eyes.

In the already-written future,
she won’t land at our planned
seashore gathering, where we won’t,
without her, toss prayers and poems
into the salty air. Or we will,
her words large, owning the ocean’s voice
while the defiant cries of gulls
keep circling.


Winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetry Prize, Lock Haven University English Professor Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation and True, False, None of the AboveWhat She Was Saying(prose); children’s books; Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence (assistant editor). See

Celestial Jazz – a poem by Rickey Rivers Jr.

Celestial Jazz

Strange bodies, celestial, cannot be contained by ropes, rules of this life unfamiliar and foreign.
How can you contain such concepts?
How do you adhere?
Floating bodies passing through a sea of ideas,
large open mouths tasting excellence.
Oh, this life has taken its toll.

Rickey Rivers Jr was born and raised in Alabama. He is a writer and cancer survivor. His work has appeared in Picaroon Poetry, Elephants Never, Marias at Sampaguitas, Crepe & Penn (among other publications). / His third mini collection of 3×3 poems is available now: