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 . . .
Keep it. It may be worth something someday.

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.
It comes from the people,


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
from the rough highway and jagged peaks.


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.
We will come alive again


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,
so much life and truth swirling beneath the surface.

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,
Filling the small space with warmth.

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
looked up and his apartment was

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
Day by day, I’m deteriorating

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
They grew,

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
come back soon!


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.
Already born with joy, told to


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
A table set for seven with pink orchids in the middle


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
His paws padding softly across

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?