best of elementia 1-15


m.A.A.d. City Man

By Annie Barry

This summer I took some chances while listening to Chance the Rapper because I liked the beat

But listened to Kendrick when I wanted some street poetry

Some urban poetry

From poets who grew up in suburban towns with an urban state of mind

The Wish Garden: an excerpt

By Andie Davidson

A mindless leaf fluttered out of nowhere and perched on my sandaled foot. In the distance, a disorganized medley of birdsong made up an unrehearsed orchestra. Idyllic as it was, I was in the middle of a fairly typical snapshot of spring.

Screaming Secrets : A view from

By Jillian Beyer

She fell on top of me, burrowed her face in my fluff, hands smacking the down inside of me, legs kicking, wriggling, growing restless at the foot. Every night I gave her comfort, she told me her secrets, whispered in the meekest of voices of the taunts and the teases and the tortures of the day.

Love Like a Two-Dollar Bill

By Zoë Christianson

when I offered you a heart full of love

you answered,

like this woman in a toy store

when I tried to spend a two-dollar bill

a relative had given me

years ago, when I was young . . .

Bodies Revealed: A Non-Linear Essay

By Candice Ladd


“I am going on a diet,” she announced.

“But McKenzie, you're only six! Besides, you’re beautiful!” I shot back.

“But,” she insisted, “I need to lose weight.

“No, you do not. I’m your nanny, I know these things. Now eat your lunch.”

Being Cosmic Dancers: because what else would we be?

By Jaden Gragg

We live on our floating planet,

this hunk, this rock,

we are so small. 

Hot Blood Underground

By Ayah Abdul-Rauf

He is anchored to the cold room’s center

By metallic, unused fetters

Reluctance is his parapet and it’s likely to collapse

He lies amidst rusted traps

He is the first catch.


By Maddie Jones


like amorphous chunks of metal

they rest on a shelf in my brain

and beg to be molded

I long to hold them in the

fire of my skull

till they are soft and malleable

An Open Letter to Joseph Conrad

By Jess Holmes

Dear Mr. Uber-Goth,

I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies within the mind of any literary genius, but I’ve got to let it out...your endless pessimism is bringing me down.

Losing Lila

By Jessica Sutter

It looked a bit like Lila, but it wasn’t Lila. I don’t know why people say that when someone dies they look like they’re sleeping. Her skin was dull grey and colder than ice. Her long body lay limp and heavy on the stainless steel table. Her clothes were dirty and rumpled.

A Spectacular View

By Leslie Goodwin

A cool breeze shuffled my hair, causing deep chestnut strands to tangle in my eye lashes. As my purse swung loosely at my hip, I slowly lifted my hand to shield my defenseless eyes against the brilliant sun. I exhaled deeply, letting the awe and amazement settle in the pit of my stomach.

Waiting to be Struck

By Matthew Morefield Tanzer

Sometimes I just sit there,

waiting to be struck,

with one poetic thought.

Other times I am struck,

with a line to my poem,

and I have nowhere,

to write it down.

Inspiration comes from,

nature and the world.


By Brooke Stanley

Bumping the van, our holey road twists

onto the dark side of each mountain,

drawing us into night and the nervousness

of a stranger at the wheel in an unfamiliar place.

The stars are swallowed, the moon gone


By Rachel Franklin

I. Blue chamber 

Take my hand, feel for flesh

beneath the glove, the mask

Catch the notes slipping through

the air (your fingers)

Dance until we die and await the


Listen closely.


By Jaden Gragg

There is so much beneath the surface

of what we are being told,

like cream rising to the top of milk,

like layers in the ocean,

like light filtering in only through the top.

The rest is inky darkness,

Lichtenburg Love

By Rachel Franklin

I used to tread over damp ground

yet seek shelter from the rain.

Those wilted lives, half-truths

fed to half-lovers, are gone.

The hollows of your cheeks

are cracked like parched earth

from years wasted needing me to kiss you.

The Mistake Girl

By Portia Miller

The mistake girl is in the corner,

Facing the wall,

Counting how many cracks are in the cheap,

Thinning plaster.

Trying desperately and

Failing to block out her mother’s voice.


Setting a price.

Poor Great-Great-Grandmother

By Calla Hinderks

A creaking windowpane,

Pelted with snow,

Reflecting light onto the dusty, deep brown floor.

The rooms seems to sigh, pained with age,

Abandoned; left waiting,

The cold is kept at bay by a single lamp,

The Parasite Lives and Grows

By Rachel Franklin

Once upon a time Goliath fell.

They built buildings on his body

and David walked away without looking back

didn’t know his victory

until he moved

opened the door

to have his pebble drop at his feet

The Difference Between Simile and Self

By Rachel Franklin

I have problems

and I’ll swap mine with you like trading cards.

Long lovely disorders go over the lips like chocolate

but honey, we’ve been writing about these pits of darkness

long before shrinks slapped name tags on them.


By JDC Resident

Used and abused

Still standing strong

You are the one I lean on

Who knows how to turn it around

With me through thick and thin

No matter what, where, or when

The pain of being without you


The Climbing Tree

By Ann E. Mclean

The Ponderosa Pines hunched ponderously,

Their convoluted gestures frozen

With dry, rasping limbs in stages of vexation

And narrow forearms lifted high

In savored moments of exalted epiphany.

My brother and I climbed the questions

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

By Eunice Lee

i am your (empty

dead-eyed cashier, mechanically

ringing up your nachos and popcorn;

have a great day!

weekend plans and giggling friends,

i am Maslow’s slave

face blur past, i ring up your purchase


By Sarah Woods


Care-taker, life-giver,

nurturer, chef, doormat.


Raised to believe my gender put

me on the bottom.

I am to please, not to be pleased.

I am the inferior, the weak, the

soft, the submissive.


By Carly Hassenstab

Police tape lines the yard

I walk past

Baby blue house in cookie-cutter neighborhood

I look down and it says welcome

I quickly step in and close the door

so the camera flashes don’t glimpse inside


By Sarah Hirsch

showers are often taken for granted

a comfort for the morning, afternoon, late night, whenever

consistently enveloping you in that same warm blanket

always at that perfect angle

so you never have to put in unnecessary effort

Scrapyard Jungle

By Alexandra Miller

The twisted metal trees

Rise up from the heap

Magpies hop about

The glittering savannah

And crows harass the mice

Nesting in the chewed

Leather seat

Of a Volkswagen

A scruffy dog

Stalks the crows

Kansas City

By Taj’Zhere Dillard

This here is real.

There are no stories

about happy homes and whole hearts

where we come from.

No fancy cars.

We got no big houses but big dreams.

This is crack fiends at midnight,

babies crying, sleeping on wooden floors.

Dream Behind the Glass

By Anika Rasheed

There’s a girl that I see sometimes.

She pops up from time to time.

Day to day.

She’s a lot of things.

God, she’s beautiful.

And, isn’t she just so funny?