Soul by Southwest 2023

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SOUL BY SOUTHWEST

2023



SOUL BY SOUTHWEST



SOUL BY SOUTHWEST

Fall 20 023 Seminary of the Southwest Austin, Texas

SOUL BY SOUTHWEST is published annually by the Center for Writing and the Arts at Southwest. See full submissions guidelines on page 71. Editorial Team Keela Vaughn, Editorial and Design Assistant Claire Miller Colombo, Editor Kari Kulak, MHC '25 Jennifer Stewart, MDiv '26 Anthony Suggs-Perea, MDiv '24


SOUL BY SOUTHWEST FALL 2023

WORDS

Foreword

Claire Miller Colombo

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Holy Parrot

SHARON LOWE

1

the magical cattails of granny's cow pasture

CHRISTINE HAVENS

3

Stand Tall, Stand Loud

MARK JODON

5

The Eyes of a Child

NADINE MCELROY

11

J P Morgan Saved the Whales

JOLYNN FREE

12

The Nonsense of Birds

GENA ST. DAVID

16

Besieged

STEPHEN G. KENNEDY

17

For Louise at the Luncheonette

SHARON LOWE

25

Retreat Campfire

NEIL ELLIS ORTS

26

Sacred Heart

BONNIE THURSTON

29

All Souls

BONNIE THURSTON

30

Community

MARILYN ZWICKER

33

Silence

MARILYN ZWICKER

35

Ambulance Siren at Night

SALLY WITT

37

O Antiphons

SALLY WITT

38

Dust Season

DWIGHT GRAY

41

Dandelion

DWIGHT GRAY

44

White Woman Looks Around

SALLY WITT

45

Morning Epiphany

DWIGHT GRAY

48

Three Haikus

THOMAS SMITH

49

Gratitude Humility Impermanence

JOLYNN FREE

51

Signal Flare

KELLAURA JOHNSON

54

A Palpable Thread

LYNN GILBERT

59

Home

MARILYN ZWICKER

61

Advice

BONNIE THURSTON

62

Jen

JUDY BEENE MYERS

63


IMAGES

Collaboration

DEBORAH COLE

4

Untitled

CHAD MOORE

7

Untitled

CHAD MOORE

8

Untitled

CHAD MOORE

9

Lesser Goldfinch

JENNY MOORE

10

Hope Suite

MARK LESLY SMITH

14

Beseiged

MARY EMILY GREEN

17

Broken Road Blessing

KIM KIBBY

24

The Grounds of the Art School at Laguna Gloria

JENNY MOORE

27

Chihuly at Taliesin

CATHY TYNDALL BOYD

28

Abuelas

DEBORAH COLE

31

Awake at 5:25 A.M.

LYNDA YOUNG KAFFIE

32

Heart of Palm

CYNTHIA BRIGGS KITTREDGE

36

Faye

JENNY MOORE

39

From the High Mesa

LYNDA YOUNG KAFFIE

40

A Community of Cacti at Barton Springs Nursery

JENNY MOORE

43

He Is Not Here

KIM KIBBY

47

Just Joy

GINGER GEYER

50

Camp Allen, October Dawn

KIM KIBBY

53

Outdoor Chapel, Dayspring Conference Center, Florida

CATHY TYNDALL BOYD

57

Rouen Cathedral, France

FREDERICK L. CLEMENT

58

Desfile de San Sebastián

DEBORAH COLE

60

Fear Not

GINGER GEYER

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Foreword C L A I R E M I L L ER C O L O M B O

Semaphore is a form of visual communication used to send messages across great distances. The lifting of batons, the sending up of flares, or the waving of flags can all be forms of semaphore. We invoke semaphore as this edition’s theme because it helps us to acknowledge the power of art and language to connect us across the distances of time and space. The words and images featured across the ten years and ten editions of Soul by Southwest have done this sort of work. They have represented and connected Southwest alums from different graduating classes; students, faculty, and staff from different quadrants of campus; and artists and writers from different dioceses, cities, and walks of life. Making and sharing art is also one way to practice Beloved Community. We hope the works in this edition help connect you — members of this beloved community — across time and space with the makers of the works and with other readers and viewers.

Cover art: Selections from the Hope Suite series of artworks by Mark L. Smith, including “Semaphore,” “Hindi,” “Braille,” “Korean,” “Hebrew,” and “Zulu.” Each work in the series exvii

presses the word hope in a different language.



SH A R O N L O W E

Holy Parrot

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You can’t save them all, no matter how bright your light or clear your call, but that is no reason not to try. Consider the parrot— once known among religious as a mediator of the sacred, friend and symbol of the Virgin Mary. Today, the parrot is perceived as frivolous, looked to for comic relief, or confined to stunt shows and tiki rooms where it serves as décor for pink drinks and pineapples and is forced to beg for crackers whether named Polly or not. I wonder how the parrot landed in this space of limited imagination and restricted perception. Were they told to accept it and get back in their cage? Or did the parrot realize that its truth and beauty could find a larger audience at SeaWorld? Regardless, you need not pity the parrot, as they, unlike us, know their worth does not depend on station, accomplishment, or the opinion of others. Maybe they can still save us.


2

PHO T O B Y ST EPH A N I E R A M I R E Z


C H R IST I N E H AV ENS

the magical cattails of granny's cow pasture

a winter marsh cold and sparse sleeping reeds crunch under rough soles brush crackles a crow cackles the cows nearby graze pastured verging on uncultured

lands

merely boarders we stand ashiver aquiver

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finally hush children hush the cattail fluff takes

flight


4

Collaboration D EB O R A H C O L E


M ARK JODON

Stand Tall, Stand Loud

“Our lives begin to die the day we are silent

about the things that matter.”

— Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When the sun sets in summer on the edge of Riverside Park you have to squint to see Aaron Bell’s sculpture (Stand Tall, Stand Loud) backlit against an iconic orb harsh golden light piercing your eyes. There before you, blurred like a mirage, a muscular figure in the distance balanced like scales on top of an obelisk; a silhouette of a winged man, arms at his side, hands wide open, his body language saying: “Don’t be afraid; I will not hurt you.” As you step closer, where you expect a head a bull-rope noose suspends above the shoulders; and where you expect a face a slash fills the empty noose, a scar, a symbol against hatred. The torso, open like a grave, exposes a gently spinning turbine

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covered in white canvas sailcloth,


blades, more like meat grinder than windmill, take in, process whatever is in the wind — whatever injustice, or discrimination, whatever hatred or fear, whatever ignorance or misunderstanding,

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and distill it into love.


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Untitled C H A D MO O R E


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Untitled C H A D MO O R E


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Untitled C H A D MO O R E


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Lesser Goldfinch J EN N Y MO O R E


N A D I N E MC EL R O Y

The Eyes of a Child

Eyes wide open he sees them all He hears every word but does not speak What are they doing he thinks to himself? He sees it all, but does not speak Some are black, some are white Some are tall, some are short Some are wide, some are slim He sees it all, but does not speak Some hair red, some hair blue Some hair black, some hair white Some heads bare, some with hats He sees it all, but does not speak Some hug, some shake hands They all move from place to place Some sit, some continue to stand He sees it all, still does not speak What are they doing, where are they going? Will they all return the way they came? Some walk out of the door, they did all not stay He sees it all, but does not speak

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God is beckoning them all to come Yet they continue out the way they came Why did they come, if not to stay? Yes, He sees it all, but still does not speak


J O LY N N F R EE

J P Morgan Saved the Whales

I often feel like a deer in the headlights. No, more like that squirrel who darts into the street then stops halfway to consider his plight. I never know which action he will choose: continue, return, or wait to see what me and my 3,000 pound car will do next.

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I’d be as crushed to hit him as that deer who ran into my car on the dark road and left a patch of hide on my door trim. I didn’t stop to see the damage done but was so shook I bought grocery store wine in the next town and drank it from the bottle. So when a young man with a heart full of hate frustration fear shot nineteen children and their teachers what response was left to me? Pray with Bishop Curry


send money to Gun Sense write my senators shake my fist at the NRA’s lobby or maybe simply this: Sit. And be moved by the grief of those families and the deep wound in that young man we failed and the one in Buffalo and know I am them as capable of harming others as any of those in the headlines, though more subtly or even unawares. And when humility has brought me low and I’m convinced of my culpability then the gracious one redeems me with love and reminds me how little is up to me how small my boat and great the sea and how the butterfly’s wing may turn the tide yet.

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For just when he was at his greediest setting in motion an industry we still regret, J P Morgan saved the whales.


Hope Suite MARK L. SMITH

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Hope Suite is a series of 44 original collages on paper created between 2008 and 2014. Each work contains the word hope in a distinct world language. The artist’s intent was to create peaceful connections between diverse global cultures. “The collection,” says the artist, “is a box of hope at a time when it is much in need.”


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Clockwise from top left: Braille, Korean, Hindi, Zulu, Hebrew, and Semaphore


GEN A ST. D AV I D

The Nonsense of Birds

Of the nonsense of birds I have learned less than nothing. They watch as I’m walking, excitedly telling one another what time I left, the contents of my lunch, the number of cats at my window. The songs they use are not ones that I know; their rhymes are all broken, the chords unresolved. “It’s not for me,” I thunder, “to resolve them for you!” “That’s silly,” they sing and unsing.

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“Yesterday (you did) you left six minutes sooner and the red caterpillar was spared.”


Besieged: Images and Words of Grief and Hope in Ukraine

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The three poem-image pairs on the following pages are from Besieged, a collection created in 2022 by artist Mary Green and poet Stephen G. Kennedy. Green created the pencil portraits of people she saw on television news stories about the war in Ukraine. Kennedy wrote poems to accompany the images. The creators of this series hope to use proceeds from the project to support the people of Ukraine.


The priest whispers, every prayer is an island until laid like a stepping stone, one to another, over death and the brute racket of bullets.

STEPHEN G. KENNEDY 18

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Church bells strike a village heartbeat, summon the missing into their midst, into a mosaic of searching voices, to quicken crossing of impossible waters.


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Fr. Andrew Zelinskyy, Chief Chaplain, Ukrainian Catholic Church M A R Y EM I L Y GR E E N


The half-moon is a white anchor amid a sea of sparks and cannon-fire, his city will not sink, no one drown, he will grow old mending sails for the young who will lead.

STEPHEN G. KENNEDY 20

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So many suns choose to rise that a thousand rifles melt into minnows in sunstruck streams, village men cast visions into illuminated pools, children giggle, float paper boats to heaven.


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Young Man Wearing Knit Hat and Hoodie M A R Y EM I L Y GR E E N


Night descends into prayer, morning surprises the gray mouse of sun sneaking from its hole in a searing horizon.

STEPHEN G. KENNEDY 22

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A neighbor still alive means a dance across fraught pitted streets to see a mother, bring her tea, present her with his lone red rose, offer to count the toes on her little one.


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Woman and Infant M A R Y EM I L Y GR E E N


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Broken Road Blessing K I M K I BB Y


SH A R O N L O W E

For Louise at the Luncheonette

Just keep wiping down the counter in slow circles, turning the rag over and over, wringing lemons dry above the surface, and squeezing the gray into a pail. No one will notice when you suddenly reverse course, throw in the occasional wild figure eight, or simply move on, unseen. So you might as well enjoy yourself—now. And what might they notice?

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Some may see the counter gleaming brightly, Smile, and then, breathe deeply, as if for the first time. Some may sense the long, dull pilgrimage of their day pausing in a cool grove of blossoming citrus trees. And maybe — just maybe, someone will recognize this place of dancing rags and grayness wiped clean as the place of their resurrection.


N EI L EL L IS O RT S

Retreat Campfire

There was a guitar, maybe three. We sang sacred and secular lyrics, all holy in our combined breath. The circle of firelight cradled us against the chill. The night air, the woods, the smoke all smelled like seeking God or at least community, the body of God. We were college students, looking to preserve faith into this new adult life. (Not everyone would.) One crumbled into their neighbor weeping. No one could tell whether it was heartbreak or joy. Each carries its own weight, either might cause us to buckle. Songs continued. A decade passed, then three, nearly four. Time scattered us across geography and ideology. Some are no longer alive. Some names are forgotten. Fleeting, fading memories remain.

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Credo: The light that holds us in its warmth cannot be underestimated. Joy and heartbreak are weights to be shared. Spirits once entwined in song cannot be disentangled. Ephemerality accumulates into eternity.


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The Grounds of the Art School at Laguna Gloria JENNY MOORE


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Chihuly at Taliesin C AT H Y T Y N D A L L B O Y D


B O N N I E T H U R ST O N

Sacred Heart

“You were within me but I was outside.” — St. Augustine

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You. Yes, you, crazy and clever enough to read poetry, who know obliquely the way is not charted by raucous externals which would, if they could, distract to perdition, make us strangers to ourselves, to the exotic lands of our interior world which no one else maps, where the cloying voice of society’s GPS is permanently stilled. Where do you turn to find coordinates? Try your riven heart. Wounds point the way. The water and blood of every heart is sacred.


B O N N I E T H U R ST O N

All Souls

I awake to sense a great undertow, recall the day my beloved joined the saints. It is a drag not of memory, but something cellular, buried deep in the body, a heaviness felt as anniversaries approach, like an anchor not fully brought up, like stones in the pocket of ones favorite jacket.

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To remember the cause of this eruption of inner darkness is to light the lamp of another remembrance, of the common lot, of the suffering of others. It offers the blessing of the opportunity to exercise compassion.


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Abuelas D EB O R A H C O L E


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Awake at 5:25 A.M. LY N D A Y O U N G K A F F I E


M A R I LY N Z W I C K ER

Community

My kitchen is cluttered Cookie sheets Cooling racks Dozens of little sweets A reception Reunion of grief We do this whenever Death visits Set up tables White tablecloths Flowers Various treats Carefully arranged White doilies Pretty plates It’s a glimpse Into a future For which I cannot plan Someday that box Draped with white linen Will be my body Soon to be scattered Over the hill

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A plaque with my name Will be surrounded


By memorials to friends Whose ashes mine will join Others will make and arrange Funeral meats

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Knowing this I relax into belonging


M A R I LY N Z W I C K ER

Silence

The trees understand silence Forever witnesses Forever mute They reach out to each other Truncated embraces Cut off by trail workers Disciplining the forest I used to think I could be silent But inside I am full of noise Flitting from one thought to another Like the chattering parliament Of birds clustered In the branches The trees seem eternal They rooted and grew Tall and thick Before my ancestors Walked on this land And will continue to become When I die Then I too will be silent Wondering now if death Is another kind Of consciousness My ashes mingling With hillside scrub

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I wonder if voices disappear


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Heart of Palm C Y N T H I A BR I G G S K I T T R ED GE


S A L LY W I T T

Ambulance Siren at Night

An ambulance siren circles the narrow roadway, clangs through mountains, winds its way within me. Could this be the sound of earth resisting its own dying? the cry of those in search of shelter? the moan of all who hunger? Do the mountains take into themselves the siren call so they may amplify the cry: Come, stretch your hand to one in pain. Do not deny the hurt surrounding you, within you. Bless, relieve, repent, repair, console. The siren calls from every rock and crevice:

Hear me, let me enter you;

free your heart from its deaf, isolated hardness.

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S A L LY W I T T

O Antiphons

You have formed my heart into an O Antiphon and I cannot quell my thirst for you, O Rising Dawn, O Desire of Nations. O King and Leader, Root of Jesse, O Wisdom and Key of freedom from our inner jails, my being yearns for you; it calls from the long O of loneliness into mystery, into still unshaped joy. Somewhere beneath the embers of our scorched forests, under brownfields releasing toxic breath, there grows a fertile shoot, protected, strong; for its flowering I long.

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O Emmanuel, Come!


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Faye J EN N Y MO O R E


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From the High Mesa LY N D A Y O U N G K A F F I E


D W I GH T GR AY

Dust Season

We read of cleansing fires and assure ourselves we’ll be standing by the end. July in the Hill Country. Brush fire season when our concern for this fragile system runs counter to the freedom signified by a bag full of firecrackers and an American flag. Somewhere a pop and a hiss, someone’s lighting the fireworks early, rising as prayers to abstractions before falling back unanswered and deadly. We listen standing on cracked earth, visible between the dry blades. Our animal kingdom, a warbler darts deep within the live oak tree; a dragonfly hovers above the weeds, each announcing they haven’t been banished yet. A mutt sleeps under the porch, waiting for dusk, body striped by fire and shadow. The cactus amid the rocks stand upright, unbowed by drought, having been sacrificed with regularity only to return, roots emerging from the side of a broken green paddle, finding purchase in the rocky dust

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where others fear to tread.


The wasps’ nest, knocked down yesterday, built again today beneath the eave. And, across the street, coriapsis covers an abandoned lot in gold.

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All of us — anxious, still, rising from our wounds.


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A Community of Cacti at Barton Springs Nursery J EN N Y MO O R E


D W I GH T GR AY

Dandelion

You know the ending. And it’s coming sooner rather than later. Your body scatters. A light breeze could pull you apart. Flight in all its directions dizzying. The conclusion of what began as pushing through, finding the crack in the concrete, where you witnessed children drawing suns in chalk on the hard surface, and more than one stumble, leaving pieces of skin nearby. You heard it at its worst, city anger condensed in the sound of slammed doors shaking the ground; when this life started some walked over as if you didn’t exist and when it became clear that you did, they said you shouldn’t.

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Tomorrow carries its own weight. Petals thinning, greying, still brilliant against dead winter grass and broken ground, you, afraid of what waits, but standing just the same.


S A L LY W I T T

White Woman Looks Around

We have seen with our eyes closed, but we have not witnessed to the sufferings of our siblings. We have seen with our eyes closed but have not spoken of their terror. Though we have seen with our eyes closed, we have not allowed ourselves to hear injustice, nor have we touched the system that oppresses, beats down daily those of color. We could not shout the truth; our eyes were closed, and we would not open them for fear of seeming indiscreet or losing the fragile privilege of living in a safer world, the privilege of eating the first fruits then kindly letting others have the scraps. We never saw anything amiss; it must have been somewhere else,

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maybe in the South where such is custom,


or among the undeserving who, of course, do not deserve.

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Is not what we have seen with our eyes closed the truth of our own lives?


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He Is Not Here K I M K I BB Y


D W I GH T GR AY

Morning Epiphany

Sun pushes its way through half-shut blinds, paints bars across the bedroom wall. You remember now where you are. Woken by the sound of a warbler beyond the glass, interrupted by the sound of squealing tires on a nearby road. There’s the smell of coffee brewing, the hiss and crackle of bacon. A woman, already up, sings in the kitchen, skillet and spatula providing the percussion. There will be harsh moments today. You didn’t break the world but now it’s yours, overpriced and warranty expired. The bird song beyond the glass says maybe there will be flecks of light. You won’t know

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if you don’t drag your butt out of bed to see.


THOMA S SMITH

Three Haikus

Milky Way stretches across the night canopy even when not seen. . Crabs play hide and seek, waves caress the beach before hurricanes return. .

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Island in the sea surrounded by three hundred others. Still alone.


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Just Joy G I N G ER G E Y ER


J O LY N N F R EE

Gratitude Humility Impermanence

How has the smoke been? Not bad. Haven’t seen much. That’s good. A relief after fires on both sides. And now rainy season. But on the highway I was passed by a pickup heading north piled with red duffels. Fire Crew they read each one for a life who’s still on the line.

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Walmart has the cheapest gas and I had an errand out that road. At the pump a man I could not understand requested money I supposed. He was filthy and hot and I raised my palms to stop his approach. The dark woman behind me understood him. He brought a can from around the corner which she filled after


her own costly tank. They smiled, said goodbye. And I had saved ten cents per gallon.

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Driving down the mountain from Los Alamos I saw a cloud with a heart-shaped hole all the way through it. I thought of pictures tiny cameras take inside the body, tissues like seaweed waving underwater. I pulled over but could not retrieve my phone before it changed. “Useless to think you’ll park and capture it,” says the wise poet.


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Camp Allen, October Dawn K I M K I BB Y


K EL L AU R A J O H NS O N

Signal Flare

A signal flare is an eighteen-inch stick covered in red waxed paper with a removeable cap and two wire legs that bend out and make it stand. Tiny black letters spell out the instructions accompanied by the figure of a little man on fire.

“Do you want to see the circle of fire?” My five-year-old niece looks up from her crayons with a mischievous grin. “Fire? Yes!” She grabs my hand, all long tangled hair and tiny fingernails sparkling with glitter. She is too smart for her age and I remember how that felt. She notices everything and I still know how that feels. The child and I walk hand in hand down to the long metal dock. She barely notices her father fixing the angled wire legs of the flare into the soft hillside facing the lake. “Look, the circle of fire has started,” I say, pointing to the light of red flares across the lake. We sit on the end of the long dock. I ask the child to count the red flares around the lake. As she counts, I notice that all that is left of the sunset is a faint glow of cornflower blue on top of the western hill. The rest of the sky is dark and cloudless, with barely any light coming from the fingernail sliver of the moon.

“Would you like to see a planet?” “Yes,” she whispers in excitement.

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The child gives up counting, as new flares are being added all the time.

“That,” I point to the first light to come out, right above the tops of the east-most pine trees, “is Jupiter.”


“That’s not a planet. That’s a star.” As I explain that planets look a lot like stars from this far away, and with faked knowledge assert that stars twinkle and planets glow, I try to keep the uncertainty out of my voice. I doubt myself. I’d just read that Jupiter would be the first light, low in the Eastern sky tonight, followed by Saturn, but maybe that’s just a star. My eye for the difference between glow and twinkle may have dulled over the years. A new light glows into view near the light that is possibly Jupiter. “And that’s Saturn,” I say with all the confidence of an adult with nothing left to lose. “Oooh, Saturn,” breathes the child. Emboldened, I point to a new light in the center of the sky. “And that’s the North Star, see how it twinkles?” The child affirms that by comparison, the star twinkles and the planets glow. She repeats, in a whisper, “the North Star.” “People navigate by the North Star. As long as you can find it you will never be lost.” I parrot exactly what my mother told me. Not bothered by its false logic, I believe it with my whole heart. The child and I decide that a blinking light, moving across the sky, is a plane flying very, very high. “I saw the Big Dipper once.” “Me, too.” “I love the Big Dipper.”

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“I love the Big Dipper, too.” Having exhausted the possibilities of the heavens, we turn to the constellation that has formed around us on the shore. The signal flare on the hillside behind us hisses forth a flower of red sparks, just above the grass. All the flares have been lit and we sit in the middle of the circle of fire. Red flares neither glowing nor twinkling, but sizzling, form


a circle around the lakeshore. The child and I both sigh at the beauty of it. The lake is smooth obsidian reflecting the stars and planets. Each red flare is reflected as a red line on the water, all reaching toward the deep, dark center of the lake. Reaching toward us, where we sit at the end of our metal dock, stretched out into the lake itself. The child and I are the only ones inside the circle of fire. Others may watch from the shore but we are surrounded, encompassed. “This is the circle of fire,” I intone in my most solemn, holy voice. “This is my favorite place to be. This is my favorite night. Inside the circle of fire is the safest place I know.” I have sat inside the circle on the dock, for years, alone. This year, the child sits in silence with me. “I love this,” she says. “So do I,” my voice echoes. We are lost in silence. I notice the houses which sit dark, where no one is there to light a flare. Every flare is a family proclaiming to the darkness, “We are still here. We are here together for one more year. We are here.” The child begins to stir. She does not yet need the safety and solitude of sitting inside the circle of fire as much as I do. Laughter twinkles from behind our backs. The kitchen light spills onto the porch and inside, our family is still here. Joking, eating, playing cards. For one more year we are all still here.

Plunk! A fish jumps, setting the nearest reflections dancing. The bats sew together sky and water, back and forth they dart, stitching with every turn. The child squirms and I touch her arm. “Let’s go inside and see what’s happening.”

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I take it all in; the lights on sky and shore, and those reflected in the water.

Our bare footsteps drum out a beat on the metal dock. We scramble up the hillside, pass our still sizzling flare. We leave the circle of fire behind and walk toward the kitchen light, which glows brighter than Jupiter.


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Outdoor Chapel, Dayspring Conference Center, Florida C AT H Y T Y N D A L L B O Y D


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Rouen Cathedral, France F R ED ER I C K L . C L E M EN T


LY N N GI L BERT

A Palpable Thread

Byzantine iconoclasts of the early Christian centuries plastered over saints’ faces or shattered their statues to no avail: people kept creating images to their devotions As futile today for the museum guard in Istanbul’s secularized mosque to admonish the devout girl moving her lips and wiping her tears before a small inlaid casket said to contain a hair from Mohammed's beard

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She knows what she needs: a palpable thread to climb hand over hand to the divine


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Desfile de San Sebastián D EB O R A H C O L E


M A R I LY N Z W I C K ER

Home

I love being here My blue teapot The storyteller I bought on the high road To Taos Golden cherry tomatoes That just keep forming In summer heat Very soon I will Go to the ocean Scene of my childhood It is not going home But visiting memories My life is here In a red state Where I disagree With public figures

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Comfortable with my circles Like rocks rippling In still waters We make a difference


B O N N I E T H U R ST O N

Advice

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Preachers, poets, your calling (should you accept it) is to awaken the child within, the one at library story hour who listened entranced to Miss Cheryl’s fable. Ditch the dogma, the inscrutable metaphor. Tell us the old, old story, your own story, the one you hear in your heart on the darkest night or in the bright light of your daughter’s marriage to a guy you really like. Recount how scary it all is. Remind us that, at the end, there will be wedding cake.


JU D Y BEEN E M Y ER S

Jen

We walked with others in silent meditation. Her ebony feet blended with wood floor’s golden grains like coffee with cream. I wanted to drink it in: those roots of herself, that damp clay of earth’s essence, that seed from which she sprouted springing upward like the dark barked tree of my childhood. Single file. Me, the elder. Her, the child. My diminutive frame guided her tall, straight stature. Rounding the circle, radial energy drew me to this soul daughter; her sable skin earthier than my own olive shell.

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Two of us. Child-mother. Mother-child.


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Evidence of emergence from earth’s womb of creation, visibly witnessing the Great Motherhood.


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Fear Not G I N G ER G E Y ER


contributors

In the blessed space created by retirement from parish ministry in 2022, the Rev. Cathy Tyndall Boyd (MDiv ’06) is immersing in music, travel, watercolor, and photography. All creativity feeds the soul as prayer. She is writing and leading retreats for clergy, clergy spouses, and vestries, hoping to support those who are still on the front lines of ministry. Cathy and David Boyd live in Easton, Massachusetts. Frederick L. Clement is executive vice president of Seminary of the Southwest. Appointed in 2012, he manages and directs a comprehensive program of business administration in the functional areas of accounting, finance, information technology, HR operations, physical plant, auxiliary services, regulatory compliance, and legal affairs. He is married to Donna Hill Clement, has two children, and enjoys spending time on Lake Travis, working in the yard, and oil painting. Deborah Cole (MSF '17) leads first from the heart. Armed with a graduate degree from Texas A&M, she founded and led a company with 10 locations and 500+ team members in the State of Texas. As President, Deborah supported the next generation of leaders who took charge when the company became employee-owned. Since completing her MSF at Southwest, she has focused full-time on writing, speaking, and photography. Her book SHE: Believed She Could So She Did launched in January 2022 and her most current project, Black Women in Business: Journeys in Resilience, launched in January 2023. Jolynn H. Free lives and works as a financial advisor in Austin, Texas, worships at All Saints' Church, and is the editor of two collections and the author of a family memoir, YaHa Lost and Found: A Flood, a Family and a Journey to Find a Creek Warrior in World War II Italy.

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Austin artist Ginger Geyer earned degrees in painting and art history from SMU and the MAPM degree from the Seminary of the Southwest. In 2022 she served as the first Artist-in-Residence at Southwest, working onsite with collage, clay, and painting. Formerly an art museum professional, she also instigated the visual arts programs at Laity Lodge.


The Rev. Mary Emily Green (MDiv '12) is a retired Episcopal priest living with her husband Bob on Whidbey Island in Washington State. Her book Eyes to See: The Redemptive Purpose of Icons was published in 2014. Mary uses her middle name Emily as her art signature, representing a central component of her identity. Lynn Gilbert has had poems in Blue Unicorn, Concho River Review, Exquisite Corpse, Gnu, The Huron River Review, Kansas Quarterly, Light, Mezzo Cammin, Mortar, Peninsula Poets, and elsewhere. An associate editor at Third Wednesday journal, she has been a finalist in the Gerald Cable Book Award (2021) and Off the Grid Press book contests. Mark Jodon is the author of a full-length book of poetry, Day of the Speckled Trout (Transcendent Zero Press), and a limited edition chapbook, What the Raven Wants (Provision Press). He is an Iconoclast Artist (www.iconoclastartists.org). His poetry has been featured in the Houston Poetry Fest, displayed in a city hall with a photography exhibit, quoted in a doctoral dissertation, incorporated in a wedding ceremony, and read in contemplative worship services, in addition to being published in a variety of poetry journals and anthologies. Mark lives in Houston, Texas. The Rev. Canon Kellaura Johnson (MDiv '14) helps churches find clergy and clergy find calls in the Diocese of Texas. She is a nervous yet capable sailor, unskilled yet enthusiastic gardener, and a proud Southwest alum. Lynda Young Kaffie (MAPM '06), artist, spiritual director, traveler, and lover of nature, finds her vocation at the intersection of art and spirituality. The landscape, contemplative practice, and travel inspire her artwork. She once celebrated her birthday with a lesson on the flying trapeze. You can find her at www.lyndayoungkaffie. com. Stephen G. Kennedy is a retired private school educator with dozens of poems published (years ago) in numerous literary magazines. He also has a chapbook (out of print) titled “A Visitation of Saints.” He is married to Southwest alum the Rev. Nan Kennedy, and they have 27-year-old triplets. Stephen and Nan live in Liberty Hill outside of Austin. Says photographer Kim Kibby: "I view my work as a snapshot of God's revelation of goodness in the world. God's love for us is ever-present and abundant!"

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The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, ThD, is dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest. The focus of Dean Kittredge’s leadership is the formation of Christian leaders in community for the vitality of the church and to advance God’s mission of


reconciliation. She believes that critical engagement with scripture, tradition, and context, energized by imagination, and grounded in prayer is the center of formation for mission. For her full bio, visit ssw.edu/profile/cynthia-briggs-kittredge. Says Sharon Lowe, MAPM '03: "Practicing right relationship and building community have been important to me since childhood. I sought 'good trouble' by working with the poor and poor in spirit as a public higher education and government attorney, nonprofit executive, community advocate and lay minister. I have seen community heal ignorance, inequity, isolation, homelessness, mental illness and other disabling conditions. Recently retired, I serve on the board for Accessible Housing Austin! and am training to facilitate poetry writing for children and adults with mental illness through the Institute for Poetic Medicine." The Rev. Dr. Nadine McElroy (MDiv '17) was born and raised in Austin, received her primary education here, married and moved to California, lived there for over 34 years, and returned to Austin after the death of her husband. “I attempt to capture the stillness (and perhaps loneliness) of images of neon cityscapes at dusk and beyond,” says Chad Moore, CFA. “My photo art tries to capture the electrifying allure of neon lights, taking viewers on a visual journey of some of my favorite spots. With each image, I attempt to honor through my art the neon artists who have created master works that many people pass by every day without notice. Jenny Moore is thankful that the ‘Spirituality and the Arts’ class she took at Southwest helped her reconnect with her inner artist. She currently practices daily creativity in various forms, including painting, knitting and picture-taking. She is a big fan of being present and noticing the beauty and small things around her. She is also a wife and mom to three almost grown-up kids and two golden-doodles. You can find more of her pictures and paintings on Instagram @jennymooreart. Judy Beene Myers is a writer, poet, former newspaper reporter, former preschool teacher, mother, and grandmother. She is deeply committed to meditation and contemplative prayer as both a Christian and a practicing Buddhist, and she serves her Sangha, Appamada, as a council member and writing intensive facilitator. She co-hosts with Jolynn Free annual writing and spiritual retreats in Nambe, New Mexico. She believes we are all writing our way toward intimacy with each other and all creation.

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Neil Ellis Orts is a farm boy from south central Texas and currently lives and writes in Houston. His work has recently appeared in Ruminate, The Dewdrop, and in the anthology Unknotting the Line (Dos Gatos Press), as well as in other small press


journals and anthologies. His novella, Cary and John (Resource Publications), can be ordered wherever books are sold. He is a 1995 graduate of the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest. Mark Lesly Smith, PhD is a native Texan whose long art career spans academia and studio art. A scholar of American artist Rauschenberg’s deluxe artist’s books, and co-founder of printmaking legend Flatbed Press in Austin, Smith—a Member of the Austin Arts Hall of Fame—now lives and works in the Hill Country, where he concentrates on his own mixed-media art and writing. A former seminary student, Smith has retained his interest in theology, especially ancient mystical traditions. His Hope Suite—a masterwork involving forty-four languages for the word “hope”—is his small way of bridging diverse cultures. Thomas Smith has written poetry since high school for a number of reasons, including encouraging his wife to marry him. His first book in verse The Search for King: A Fable was published in 2022. It was recently named to the 2023 Skipping Stones Book Awards Honors List. He has published haiku and limericks in Soul by Southwest, Fireflies' Light, Frog Pond, cattails, and Blythe Spirit. Smith, a physician, lives in Austin, Texas, with his family. He is a parishioner at St. Michael’s. Dr. Gena St. David serves as the Director of the Loise Henderson Wessendorff Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation and Associate Professor of Counselor Education at Seminary of the Southwest. She is a licensed professional counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist trained in systemic therapies, trauma, and neuroscience. In 2013, Gena co-founded The Human Empathy Project, an Austin-based nonprofit that supports members of faith and LGBTQ communities. She is the author of several publications on the relationship between theology and neuroscience, including The Brain & the Spirit: Unlocking the Transformative Potential in the Story of Christ (Wipf & Stock, 2021). Resigned professor and chair in New Testament Bonnie Thurston lives quietly in her home state of West Virginia, and has authored or edited 24 theological works and 7 books of poetry, most recently St. Mary of Egypt: A Modern Verse Life and Interpretation (Liturgical Press, 2022), Not Sonnets: Observations from an Ordinary Life (Cinnamon Press, 2022), and From Darkness to Eastering (Wild Goose Press, 2017). She enjoys reading, walking, gardening, cooking, and classical music.

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Sally Witt, CSJ, is a Sister of St. Joseph of Baden, Pennsylvania. She has written histories of congregations of women religious and has had poetry published in The Christian Century, Bearings Online, Spirituality (Dominican journal from Dublin), and other publications. A native of Pittsburgh, she lives in Ambridge, a town once vital to steel manufacturing.


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Marilyn Zwicker is a retired high school English teacher, lives in Austin, and has been writing poetry throughout her life. Traveling, writing workshops, and concerts, as well as current events, walks in the park, and cats purring at dawn all inspire her work.


SOUL BY SOUTHWEST SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

SOUL BY SOUTHWEST is published annually by the Center for Writing and the Arts at Seminary of Southwest. What: We print words and images that inspire, delight, question, and reveal, including short fiction, poetry, essays, reflections, photographs, and other visual artworks. We do not print academic or analytical writing, but we realize that genres are fluid. Please submit any questions about form or content to soulbysouthwest@ ssw.edu. When: Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. Please send them to soulbysouthwest@ssw.edu. Whom: We seek contributions from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the extended Seminary of the Southwest community. How: All works will be considered, but we ask that that you keep these preferences in mind:

Poetry: 20–30 lines maximum, Times New Roman 12, single-spaced; maximum of five poems. Please submit each poem in a separate Word document.

Prose: 750–1000 words maximum, Times New Roman 12, double-spaced. Please submit each piece in a separate Word document.

Images: 300 dpi minimum, .jpeg or .tif format. Photographs or scans of paintings, sketches, and other visual media are welcome; maximum of five images.

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We will do our best to respond to submissions and inquiries within 30 days of receipt. Please send your questions to soulbysouthwest@ssw.edu.


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