What The Fiction Literary Journal 2.1

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What The Fiction Literary Journal of Creative Nonfiction, Fiction & Poetry Volume 2, Issue 1 • Spring/Summer 2013

From the Editor Whew. This issue, Volume 2, Number 1, was quite an adventure. We here at WTF: What The Fiction could not figure out why we weren’t getting submissions. We had put out what we thought were two nice issues, and changed to an open submission policy. We added Submittable to handle to impending deluge. And it never came. Then, we started getting inquiries about submissions we’d never received. Long story short, our email and godaddy and our submissions manager got the electronic version of a paper jam, and suddenly in one day, our Inbox rocketed to 749 emails. Other than being somewhat embarrassed, it was an exciting time. We had wonderful submissions, and sorted through to pick the very best. It wasn’t easy. But the result was what we think is our best — and certainly biggest — issue yet. It is loaded with great poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. We’ve also already gotten a head start on Volume 2, Number 2. It will be out in the Fall.

SedAsetalways, tellus we’d at quam Donec faucibus sagittis love tosagittis get yourpharetra. feedback on this issue and ways we canjusto. make it

better. We already have some things in the works, including the addition of book reviews next time, manager by our new Book Review Editor, Dr. Rebecca Godwin, of Barton College. Rebecca is a veteran in the review business, and we think you’ll look forward to her thoughts each time out. Enjoy! Michael K. Brantley Managing Editor

Cover Photo: By Michael K. Brantley, taken on the docks in Swansboro, NC. 2

Table of Contents Poetry Bad Weather

Vanessa Jimenez Gabb



Stella Morais


The Maybe Man Frost on Black Creek North/South She’s Got Words The Willow Bends She Keeps The Lost and Found

Sasha Morado Linda Barshay Caitlin Johnson Allie Sekulich Nancy King Racheal Walser Brooke Walter

9 10 11 12 13 14 19

Fiction Marianna Reflections

Jaimie Eubanks LaKesha Rhodes

6 8

Sonia Usatch-Kuhn



Creative Nonfiction The Del Sol


Bad Weather By Vanessa Jimenez Gabb The Caribbean where water rises up And all the little houses are built On stilts to save themselves From the land coming through Taking itself back All my father’s stories About jumping out the bedroom windows To avoid a beating when he deserved it He and my uncles running down Dirt roads not returning till dark My grandfather waiting And going back to sit under the house A drink and a smoke A few jokes while fixing the soles Of people’s shoes Before they came to the states To live in the hood Where he was an old man Who could find no work A cold winter in his chest It wasn’t the bad weather of back home The hurricane season They all knew to prepare for

Vanessa Jimenez Gabb received her MFA in Poetry from CUNY Brooklyn College, where she was the recipient of the 2010 Himan Brown Award in Poetry. Her most current work is forthcoming in Word Riot and Pieces of Cake, and her chapbook mss. Car Poems was a semi-finalist in the 2012 USC Gold Line Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. She is the co-founder of fivequarterly.org 4 and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Workshop By Stella Morais

As the wake of a storm is untender, so his raw hands at their work: fingers like whirlwinds tucking fury into the wood, sandpaper palms spewing floods of dust, and the calm illusion of the knuckles always still.

Stella Morais is a twentysomething native-North-Carolinian poet submitting under a pen name. Her poems have previously appeared in journals and magazines from here to Canada.



Marianna By Jaimie Eubanks

I nap at the park by the lake, which is actually a manmade retention pond. It’s a lake the same way eye doctors tell me my eyes are fine no matter how many times I tell them I can't see the leaves on the tree that brushes against my bedroom window. I lay on a blanket in the sun with my eyes closed. I work at remaining still. My body pulls at me in the wrong places, making me toss and turn though I’m very tired and sleep should come naturally. I can’t stop thinking of the lie. The moment keeps replaying. At the register of the office supply store, the cashier asks me if I’m going back to school. No. My baby's starting fourth grade, I said, even though I don’t have a fourth grader or even a baby. I’m young, but it could be true. Physically, it could be. I’m old enough. He swiped barcodes for black pens, blue pens, highlighters, pencils, two pocket folders, and a mail sorter, all mine. Fifty dollars, he said. That’s fifty dollars I knew better than to spend. What business was it of his, anyways? I sign with the electronic pen and purse my lips. I stand as tall as I can manage, but I’m still short. Are you going go school? He’d asked so quietly. I almost didn’t hear it. I’m not going to school yet. I’m preparing. Just preparing. I’ll go back to school. I’m going to be a nurse this time. In the parking lot I sit in my car staring at a Little Caesar's Pizza with the engine running, trying not to remember all the other times I’ve been going back to school. Before, I was going to be a paralegal. Before, I was going to be a dental hygienist. I let the scene play across my eyelids like a screen, and no matter how tight I squeeze them shut the image plays through splotches of orange and yellow. I open my eyes just the tiniest bit, admitting there will be no sleep today. If my eyes look closed, they may as well be. At home, I sat at the kitchen table with my unpacked tools laid out in front of me. I put the pens and pencils and highlighters in separate slots along the back of the mail sorter. Unopened envelopes fit in each slot of the sorter, and suddenly I felt so tired. I needed to lie down, so I left for the lake. Now, nothing. I’m awake. Children are in a frenzy that only comes from end of summer. They seem to multiply, splitting themselves in two with the force of their play. The child breaks into a run. The child running becomes children running. A little girl runs, but does not multiply. She is special, self-contained, with brown hair that curls into ringlets that i have never seen on a child in real life. She runs, leaping onto my blanket and curling against me. Mom, wake up. Wake up, Mom, she says. She takes my shoulders in her tiny hands and shakes with all her might. I barely move. She is so small, maybe four years old. I'm sorry, I say. I'm not your Mom. Her eyes are blue, and make me wonder if I’d told been telling the truth to the cashier before I ever knew it. This little girl was my baby. Maybe she always had been. I knew she always would be. Wake up! We're playing. She says it, so we play. We run and the child playing moves through time and space and becomes children playing. I sweep her up in to my arms, swing her around. She laughs a laugh like children have, making a sound clearer than a bell. We hide from each other, jump out with our hands waiving high. We chase each other around and around. We climb. We speak in codes that don't quite make a language. We are communicating. Together, we play like if we were stopped, we might never start again, until we are bot tired. Our play stops as suddenly as it started, like a flash backward or forward in time, we fall back on the blanket together, asleep.



We hold still. Being perfectly tired, stillness comes easily. Look at this, the little girl says. We're flying. We’re on a magic carpet. Yes. On a magic carpet, I say, holding her to me. I hang on as if she might disappear, which she does. With my eyes closed, really closed, not just looking closed, I hear a boy say, Marianna, let's go! I refuse to feel her leaving. I push myself deeper into sleep, denying what I know. When I wake up and she is gone.

Jamie Eubanks’ work can be found in such places as Bartleby Snopes, Thought Catalog, Skyline Magazine, Gloom Cupboard, Pop Serial, and Monkey Bicycle.



Reflections By LaKesha Rhodes

I thought of you this morning as I got dressed for work. Walking into the bathroom, I grab the toothpaste and squeeze it. From the middle. You hated that. Instinctively, I smooth the tube back to uniformity, trying to conceal the indentation. Just as I’d always done so you wouldn’t notice. I never could get used to squeezing from the bottom. In that moment, I wonder if you knew that I’d done this all those many times before. I see the reflection of my purple terrycloth towel hanging from the hook on the backside of the door. There’s an empty hook next to it where your extra-large gray towel would hang. For the first time, I notice the paint on the door is a slightly duller white than that of the wall. I wonder if maybe I should repaint it. As I let the water from the faucet run, I start humming. “Do, do, doo…do, do, do, do, doo…” Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do.” That was our song. We’d flown to Miami for our first vacation together. I was scared of flying and you knew it. You’d played the song on repeat on your Ipod- one ear bud in your ear, one in mine- as you held my hand the entire flight. Every flight I took after that, I played that song to ease my anxiety. Turning the water off, I look up into the mirror and you’re standing behind me. Smiling, blue toothbrush in hand, you wrap your left arm around about my waist, and lean over to spit into the sink. I move my hand to avoid the splatter, but notice nothing hit the porcelain bowl. Quickly looking back into the mirror, I see only my reflection looking back at me. I return my toothbrush back to the cup. It spins a lonely dance as the sole occupant of the plastic container. Closing my eyes, I recall the hustle and bustle of mornings of old. Always trying to steal a couple of extra minutes of sleep, or getting caught up in the early throes of love, we would cram ourselves into this tiny space rushing to get ready for work. Giggling like a couple of teenagers, we’d jump into the shower attempting to share the modest amount of hot water the old apartment would afford us. It was always a juggling act at the sink. But every morning, we found a way. Gradually, the snooze button was seldom solicited for those extra moments of daybreak delight. Grunts and groans replaced the giggles, as you began opting for a solo lukewarm wash-up. Seemingly, I had plenty of room at the sink in those instances. But it was the enormity of our waning love that crowded and squeezed me then, fighting to take over. And, eventually, it did. It pushed and butted until you were forty miles away, harbored in your parents’ basement, spending your mornings on a tattered old couch. And me? I was thrust into this gaping emptiness, flailing and aching for that closeness again. The creaking of the rusty pipes snaps me back into reality. I reach for my towel to wipe my face, unknowingly placing it on the opposite hook when I’m done. Glancing down at my watch, I see that it’s time for me to leave. I take one more look into the mirror, swiping a loose hair from my face and smile. Turning to exit the bathroom, I stop and return to the sink. I grab the toothpaste and squeeze it. From the middle.

LaKesha Rhodes has both her B.A in English from Howard University and M.A in English/Creative Writing from East Carolina University. She has spent the last four years teaching composition to university freshmen and also does freelance editing and writing.


The Maybe Man By Sasha Morado

It’s nothing, really. A twinkle in his eye. A smirk, a smile. Maybe he’s married. Maybe he’s not. Maybe he has kids. Maybe he doesn’t. You two could ride off into the sunset. There’s a reason it’s a sunset, not a sunrise. Maybe it’s her. Sometimes you think you could fill your life with lace and ribbons, Find yourself a womanly girl and never look back. Maybe she is half your age. Maybe she is twice. Maturity, you say. Security, they say. He grins and compliments. You cringe and say his name. It would be so perfect if only he wasn’t a clown/lawyer/insurance salesman/traveling poet/escape artist. Someone who lies and scams. Juggles the hearts of others then applauds his own trick. She’ll never be happy, you say. He needs to grow up, get real, leave his wife, quit his job, take a trip. Excuses. That’s all that’s left in the dark. He grins and gropes. You cringe and moan his name. Excuses. You see him leaving. Gets in the elevator, punches the button. It’s all in your mind, you think. She leaves your room. It’s not. No, it is.

Sasha Morado has been writing poetry, plays, and short pieces of fiction for close to fifteen years. She calls Connecticut home and is working on her second novel. In her free time, she finds inspiration in nature and at the library.


Frost on Black Creek By Linda Barshay Snuggled. . .in gaping arms of a nippy wood, Tints of icy gray blue creep silently Across a frosty coverlet, warming the heart of Black Creek. Surrounding the icy deepness, snow-colored images Spilling over with memoirs like the lines in a gypsy’s palms Piercing at the water’s shell like prickles Running through freezing skin. Browned from the hush-hush of the midnight moon, Huddles of poplar trees stand bare At the creek’s edge, dancing in star-shadows, Singing out their ghostly dreams With the resting countenance of the creek cast down below.

Linda Barshay is a retired public school teacher from North Carolina. She is currently working on her second novel


North/South By Caitlin Johnson

Pine will give way to palmetto, the state line dissolve, two coasts merge into one. and you will know me then: destroyer/conjoiner, bringing all men into my embrace, two faces to unite two sandy fields.

Caitlin Johnson is the office manager and editorial assistant of St. Andrews College Press at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina, as well as the Managing Editor of CAIRN: The St. Andrews Review. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Her work has appeared in Charlotte Viewpoint, Fortunates, Gravity Hill, Pembroke Magazine, and The Story Pole.


She’s Got Words By Allie Sekulich

Scalding the tip of her soul, hot Burning like flowers left in the desert sun Concrete-poured crammed confidences Paper girl, she’s black and white and scarred Inkstain tattoos on her face, She wears another layer of skin. She’s got words like she’s got oxygen Steals them like sleeping kisses; Breathe in language; wrap it candy around your tongue Hints of a secret only found inside kaleidoscope dreams Flavoured bitter and sweet and fading brightly She’s got words like she’s got lonely, Unvoiced friends and enemies.

Allie Sekulich is a new writer. What The Fiction is proud to be the first to publish her poetry.


The Willow Bends By Nancy King

The willow bends but does not break, Inside the icy crust of winter Pressed to the ground, it does not shake, It does not snap, it does not splinter. Arched in frozen splendor like a marksman’s bow – The willow holds tight, And waits. The wait is long – Long like the darkness of the lie, Long like the road to Galilee, But Springtime comes, it always comes – To set the willow free. Like a Vaux’s Swift in flight – Like a grey-head chickadee, Strong and tall it bends no more No more like you and me.

Nancy Christensen King is a freelance writer with published poetry, fiction, and business articles. Her first book for children, "Mrs Melton's Flower Garden" will be published in 2013. She is a graduate of Harvard University with a Liberal Arts degree and is a charter member of the newly formed writer's group for members of the Harvard Club of the Research Triangle. King is a life-time Girl Scout, an artist, and an avid genealogist. She recently retired from a federal government career and relocated to North Carolina to be near her family.


She Keeps By Racheal Walser She keeps a bowl of Swedish Fish on her desk. When she's bored, she pretends they are dead. One by one, they're belly up 'till there's none. She starts with the green, the orange, the yellow, then the red one. Natural causes, she tells me. Lonliness, and shame. A broken heart, she says. This one was just playing the game. These are the reasons they die, the reasons they're dead. Luckily this is only in my head, she whispers. But when the fish are gone, I know the truth. They were only briefly alive; like me, and you.

Racheal Walser is a literary fiction author living near Toronto, Ontario, with her Akbash pup, Anthem, whose fears include: brooms, flying, Margaret Atwood books and anything else that moves without his explicit permission. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Fast Forward Press' 2011 Anthology, The Incredible Shrinking Story."



Creative NonFiction

The Del Sol By Sonia Usatch-Kuhn

“I’ve always had my heart set on one and there’s one for sale. I want you to see it,” Hank said, wearing the look of a Cheshire cat on his well-tanned face. It was a May morning, about 11:00 am, right after Sunday breakfast. Hank took my hand, steered me from the table to his 1997 Acura. He opened the door for me and when I was seated, he got in, started the engine and headed off to the town of Lake Ronkonkoma on Long Island. “Where are you taking me?” I asked with just the right amount of curiosity in my voice looking at him with amusement as my eyebrows rose askance. I was getting used to his energy and enthusiasm. “You’ll see,” he replied with a wink. In less than thirty seven seconds he spoke, couldn’t hold it in any longer. “To see a Honda Del Sol,” his reply came sounding just a bit uppity with the pride of ownership etched in the tone of his delivery, as if to imply that for him this was a done-deal. “A Honda Del what?” “A Del Sol. They haven’t manufactured them since ‘75 or ’77. This could be a collector’s item,” he said with childlike eagerness. Then he added in a sort of throaty whisper, “It’s green.” He scrunched up his nose, “not my favorite color and it’s an automatic. I really want a stick shift, but, I want you to see it.” Brightening, he added, “I’m dying to drive one. I know you’ll love it.” I interrogated with a stream of nonstop questions. “What else do you know about this car; who’s the owner, how many miles does it have, how old is it?” He rattled off the facts as he knew them. “It’s a hard-top convertible that comes off and you store it in the trunk. I don’t know who the owner is. I saw an ad in the paper the other day and I called. The owner said we could come by Sunday morning to test drive it. I think it has 177,000 miles.” I wrinkled my nose, he continued. “Look, we’ll check it out. We’ll sit in it. I’ll take you for a spin,” he continued, a bit mellower with a hint of you’re so sexy looking in his voice, “Good thing you’re wearing a scarf, a scarf billowing in the wind is so romantic. You’ll love it,” he reassured me again. He smiled in that irresistible way he had and ended his short soliloquy with a slight turn of his head toward me, his eyes softly pleading his case: I’m excited about this; could you please be excited with me? I tend to mull things over. So, I thought about the information for a long minute and then asked, “How much does he want?” “The ad said $5,000, but I’m sure he’ll take less—listen to this, when I spoke to him he told me why he’s selling it. You won’t believe this.” “OK, I’ll bite, why is he selling?” “He told me he gained quite a bit of weight recently—he can just about wiggle into it by inch degrees, but he has a lot of trouble getting out. Can you imagine that for a reason?” 15


Creative NonFiction

“Hmmm, sounds like a little bit of olive oil might help him, but this could be your lucky day. How much are you willing to spend?” “My love, listen, and remember this well— everything is negotiable, so, we’ll see.” Hank could barely contain himself. Driving on that sunny day I caught some of his zeal and smiled to myself as I peered over at the little boy inside my man picturing us walking down the aisle in September, only four months away. Hank and I knew each other pretty well, I thought. We’d been together for a year and a half now since that first dinner date, which meandered from the setting sun through the rising moon. Surely my taste in cars was revealed as we eyed each other in the restaurant parking lot. I peered through the windshield. I was seated in an older model Mazda checking out the well-dressed guy walking toward me. There was that awkward look of people who were meeting for the first time. I supposed he was Hank. I stepped out of my ten-year old car. What made him think I would go for a Del Sol? In my wildest imaginings I never thought about a sporty car. My car needs are simple: I name my cars to establish friendship and feel protected by them and when our relationship is cemented, I ask only one thing—get me to my destinations and bring me home safely. My musing was cut short. We had arrived. Hank pulled into a garden apartment complex. He parked in one of the unassigned spots. We got out and side-by-side walked over to Apartment D6. Anticipation was written in the smile on his face as he rang the bell. A burly-looking guy answered. He seemed to be in his 40s, but I couldn’t be sure with that gut hanging over his khakis. A red tank top draped in folds over his chest having the appearance of something he hastily scrambled into a minute ago. Loafers, no socks completed the ensemble. His black greasy-looking hair dangled down his back pony-tail fashion. He greeted us with, “Yah, so you’re interested in the Del Sol?” Hank replied, “Yes, I’d like my fiancé to ride with me.” “No problem. I’ll get the key and show you some of her finer points.” He spoke through a mouth full of food with what might have been pancake syrup dribbling down his chin. That was the sweetest thing about him. “I’ll be right back,” and cocking his index finger westward said, “That’s her, over there. Go have a gander.” Hank and I walked over to the far side of the parking lot near the black dumpster. There sat the Del Sol. It was green, granny-apple green. I saw Hank’s eyebrows lift and his mouth turn down. Hank let go of my hand and circled the Del Sol examining the interior through the driver-side window. He also gave a kick or two to the driver-side tire. I think it’s a guy-thing. I didn’t understand what it proved, but followed suit and kicked one of the back tires. The guy returned with the key. He rattled off some statistics with owner’s pride. “Regular gas, inspected three months ago, timing belt changed at 160,000 miles, she’s in great shape,” he said as he handed the key over to Hank. “Go on, take her for a spin.” Hank opened the door for me. I sank into the seat feeling as if only the seat cushion separated my bottom from asphalt. Hank lowered himself into the driver’s seat and immediately examined the dashboard. Getting the feel of the wheel, he placed his foot on the brake and readied himself to turn the ignition and give her gas. “Ready, baby?” “Varooom, I’m ready.”



Creative NonFiction

Hank jerked the car only once in the parking lot as he became acquainted with his new love. From the parking lot we hit the road and the three of us moved with marked rhythm. I turned sideways gazing at Hank’s profile, which seemed only a tad less than Grecian, and realized his soft brown eyes and furrowed brow revealed a bit of disappointment. We drove for about then minutes. “It’s almost everything I want, but…” Hank hesitated as he made a U-turn and headed back to the parking lot. The burly guy was now standing next to a woman who we guessed could be his girlfriend; blue bandana around her blonde locks, matching red tank top and jeans. “Cool, isn’t she?” the woman’s husky voice insisted. “Cool,” turning to the burly guy, “how much do you want for her?” he asked as he placed the key into the owner’s hand. “Look, I’ll make you a good deal, you want her or not?” Hank looked my way. I met his eyes with a gaze that translated to: do you really want this? He shrugged, much of his enthusiasm drained by the granny-apple green and the automatic drive. “I don’t think so, but thanks for letting us test her.” “Aw right,” said the burly one and he and the bandana-head turned on their heels. A year after our wedding Hank and I moved to North Carolina. We traded his Acura and my Mazda for two 2007 Honda FIT hatchbacks. Hank chose a red one. I named my white one FITelia. Hank is a bridge player, a bronze life master. He plays twice a week at the Raleigh Bridge Club. He overheard that one of the players at the club was selling a Honda Del So; a repainted silver one with black interior and this one was a stick shift. Hank is 67 and nine months old, but today he’s a kid in a candy store babbling statistics about the Del Sol to me whose interest in a Del Sol died in the parking lot where the burly guy lived. “I’m taking it for a test drive on Saturday and I want you to come with me. I’m going to have it inspected at a dealership. The owner said he wants $5,000. I told him I’m willing to spend about $4,000. I think we can come to an agreement.” Déjàvu. I popped the same questions I did a few years ago. Hank filled in the blanks, stating again that it’s a stick and answered some of the other questions as he poured over the computer checking facts online adding that, “This is for both of us baby. It will be our fun car, the one we take to Wilmington, the mountains or back to New York. We’ll sell my FIT and use yours for everything else.” Well, it seemed he had it all figured out. “You mean like using my car for grocery shopping and picking friends up when we go to dinner?” I inquired continuing without taking a breath, “Here’s a small problem, I don’t know how to drive a stick. Besides, my friend Jackie has one. She is constantly working her limbs. It doesn’t seem like fun to me.” “Look, I’ve taught several people, including my daughters, how to drive a stick, but OK, I can teach you or you can take lessons if you want to.” Now there’s a concession I thought while I pondered the idea of a husband, and still somewhat newly wed at that, teaching his beloved to drive a stick and how that could be a mortal error and infringement upon



Creative NonFiction

marital bliss. There was a chill in the Saturday morning air, courtesy of me more than Mother Nature as we got into FITelia for the ride downtown. We drove to the bridge player’s house in Raleigh where the bridge player’s wife, also a bridge player, handed him the key. Hank and I took off for the inspection at the Honda dealership. Hank paced back and forth, chatted with one of the sales people at the dealership as a diversion while we waited for the verdict as to the car's worthiness. Going over the results with the Service Manager caused a bit of de-escalation in mood, something like the electric company pulling the plug and darkening the day. There were a number of things wrong and Hank was advised to forget about making a deal. Somewhat disappointed, but undaunted, Hank decided to check it out further via Carfax. Again, we waited. Sadly, Hank learned that when the bridge players purchased it, it hadn’t been disclosed to them that the Del Sol had been totaled. Also, the airbag light was constantly on and whatever danger that presented was an unknown. Still, I saw something telling in his eyes that he thirsted for this Del Sol. He seemed to be preparing a case for purchasing it versus my case against the investment. Does this qualify as a mid-life crisis continuum if it happens when you’re sixty-eighth birthday is three months away? Or is it merely another guy thing? We returned to the bridge players’ house and reported the findings, which presented a problem for the couple. What were they going to do about these new-found facts that cost us $100 bucks to discover? Well, that was their problem. Hank and I left for home. The ride home stretched slow and silent like molasses gone bad. Hank’s profile now exposed him in deep thought. He seemed to be pondering how he could still obtain the Del Sol from the bridge players hoping they would let it go at a reduced price and how he could persuade me that this was really as good a deal as anyone could get on a vintage car—once the airbag light was repaired, of course. I was thinking about how to console Hank and what to make for dinner, and not in that order. There were too many negatives for my comfort level to consider buying the Del Sol, so I whispered to Hank, “Not everything is negotiable.”

Sonia Usatch-Kuhn is the author of Noodle Kugel & Life’s Other Meichels. She compiled and edited Living in the Rooms of our Lives and The Book of Asher: Memoirs of a Passionate Jewish Life. Her poetry, short stories and articles have been published in the Main Street Rag, The Journal of Poetry Therapy and Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making as well as in several anthologies. She lives in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.



The Lost and Found By Brooke Walter

A broken charm bracelet An engagement ring Some old t-shirts, All among the lost and found, All with their own stories to tell Of old times Old relationships, Old scars. Their owners long gone, Now only the objects remain, Only the lost items Maybe to be found by someone new, Maybe a new story to regain, In the hands of someone else. Maybe the charms can be fixed, Maybe the ring can be re-used, The shirts re-worn, But never the same story, Never the same significance, As that first time, That first use. Were they lost Or simply discarded, Left to be found, Or maybe never to be found, Thrown away Out of anger Or loneliness, The charms a reminder of lost youth, The ring a reminder of lost love, The shirts of lost time.



The lost and found, Not just a place for these things But for the stories they tell, Not just a place for the lost, But for what can be salvaged, What can be used rather than forgotten, What can be imagined in the found. Beauty that's ready to be turned into poetry I've always liked the feel of pen on paper I like the release it provides even when it feels like there's nothing left to write there is always a cache of words just waiting to be found somewhere in my mind the trick is to find where the muse is hiding but there is always beauty residing somewhere nearby it may be a fleeting moment that's hard to capture or a sunset that leaves you enraptured the lyrics to a song or even something that's been there all along like the stars in the sky you just haven't noticed the beauty that's all around it's waiting to be written down there for the taking beauty that's ready to be turned into poetry

Brooke Walter is a recent graduate from East Carolina University's English program. Shework for High Point University in Admissions.