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Literary Arts Magazine Fall 2009, Vol. 51, Issue 1 The University of Tennessee


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i} Table of Contents one} Epigrams in the middle of thing John DeWitt two} Untitled Doug Fraser three} Untitled Forrest Chad Harley four} Alaska, August 2009 Nick Moser five} so I lowered my hand back into my lap Stephanie Packham six} Cave Portraits Derek Slagle seven} A Year Befor Your Funeral Meg Wade


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Epigrams in the Middle of Things John DeWitt

The scene is the sag of air in a fallow wold. A prayer (to whom, no matter). From the point where mythos yet moves. I A god made his own image and said, ‘Get your own,’ and pointed to where the sand sieves water. II So follows our only midwife. from agèd foam, twitch on the shore, there burgeoned carnal elegance. III Below the lattice of the women gone before, bearing our image in us, they passed unknowing, without sorrow. IV Before the old century now we cower. In those days they spoke of women, we, and men; forebears dragged to wisps. V And now, when old visions converge: outstretched back and forth our weary gait, soil turned slough. VI And he whom we sought with need, ‘Bewail the dead, bewail!’ he said, but there is no honoring the dead.

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Untitled Doug Fraser The youth had escaped our eyes

and was left to wander alone,

dunes and

the town

somewhere between the

where an aged woman sat outside

weaving blankets

into patterns of the sun

The patches on our shirts were in need of


A bath would have been a godsend

These simple things were tangible, touchable, new sensations to our weathered hands. It was at a car, rusted out and burning,

where I caught my reflection

sat in the driver’s seat,

remnants of hands still grasping the steering wheel.

Others glanced as they passed, then turned their attention back to their rifles.

A man’s charred body


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Untitled Forrest Chad Harley See me push my fingers, Slowly, through the earth, Combing wind in search Of fables lost. My hands Cast moonlight silhouettes That dance like moths, Through a streetlamp nimbus. Their silver, mottled wings Silent as the snow of ash, Over Pompeii, Hiroshima, New York, Babylon… • This curl of smoke defines Our past and our future. I saw it with my eyes closed, The rise and fall of dust. • At her vanity, Death ponders Her many masks. “Which shall I wear today?” She asks as I examine her Vast collection of teeth. I turn to her, then to the masks, Infinite masks, and point To one, gray and pressed From ashes. “God it is,” She says with a dry lipped smile.


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Alaska, August 2009 Nick Moser The best place to do my nature writing, that is, my writing in the woods, is in my tent. On one side of the sky, this evening displayed its color. The neon sun behind strata of smoke which hung low on the horizon, sent upward a great column of light, illuminating atmosphere, from tangerine to the most ecumenical and lustrous gold, as if heaven herself were on floats upon the ether, and on the other side of the sky was a rainbow. At first the mountain slopes, over which the rainbow bound, were lit by sunset and had many textures. Then they were in shadow, but the rainbow was still there. “That’s how we malign the moments that made us who we are now,” she said, putting down the whisk. She added milk to help the eggs fluff, and dill and black pepper. “You didn’t realize, it had been done,” she said. “Years ago in McCarthy, you cast yourself high above the Root Glacier and listened to it heave and sigh and rumble down its length, ‘like a cold chill,’ which was the most apparent metaphor you could summon, trying to turn the ice like Father Time in your head, and now you can’t hear the thunder of time – the glacier, or time – the cold chill, or even the rippling passage of tranquil ice rivers. Instead there are women, like me, women at the front door of your memory, your mother could be one of them. There is blonde hair and red hair and dark hair, stuck to the ice from spring thaw. You hope it’s Mother Earth, but it isn’t her. You say it was so long ago, and you can’t remember. Rain was coming; black cloud poured over a distant ridge, and night had returned to the mountains. The cold and wet of escape inexplicably turned torrential. You believe this, you do, inexplicability. Westerners do this often,” she said “You see how the egg rises so evenly on low?” It’s a very windy night, and usually, despite my better judgment, on such nights, the sounds of my wind-battered tent, of the wind that roars from the hills to the valleys in great gusts, will not let me sleep. I am afraid that, because of these winds, I am not able to hear the approach of a thoroughly imaginary and nasty bear. I find the sounds of the bear in the words of the wind. There is a bear in the sudden flap of my rain fly, in the rustle of mountain grasses, in falling rock. The wind that is not made of claw and bone meets the violence of my mind, full of images. Why can’t I let the sounds exist without lending them form, or let form be without meaning, like threat? Why, in the end, must I be torn open by Bear Wind?


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so I lowered my hand back into my lap Stephanie Packham I pushed my back into the padded seat feeling the heat of my nerves against the fabric, muted like her cheeks, when all at once: my hand cut itself loose from gravity and hovered hesitating an inch above my knee but then I saw it, the flying crescendo that vibrated every molecule met her ears  and I saw that her eyes were wet for everything and I knew that she could flood down her dress and at any moment fill up the whole room and crash into me, immersing every inch of everyday until I couldn’t breathe in anything but her wet skin


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Cave Portraits Derek Slagle

photographers gliding their hands across limestone. leaning down low to pick dirt, sprinkle in air before sediment beams they are running. settle on a lone ray. trying their tripods. capturing light carrying dust. pirouetting gold hairs quickly relevĂŠ as a wind shifts.


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A Year Before Your Funeral Meg Wade At Mikey’s wake, I remember us trying so hard not to laugh when the Irish priest kept talking about some soldier in his village back home, eating fish and chips before the war broke out.


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Editor in Chief } Willoughby Parker Managing Editor} Abigail Hammer Poetry Editors} Joshua Richeson Molly Rigell Fiction Editors} Rebecca Dixon Jed Pruett Art Editor} Erin McClenathan Design Editor} Sam Mays Design Consultant} Chris Cameron Copy Editor} Molly Rigell Web Editor} Linda Nguyen Support Staff } Garrett Bourdon Faculty Advisers} Jane Pope Eric Smith

This edition of Phoenix was designed using Adobe InDesign and Photoshop CS3 on an iMac OS X. The typeface used throughout is Minion.This issue was printed and assembled at UT Graphic Arts Services. The paper is

Phoenix room 5 Communications Building 1345 Circle Park Drive Knoxville, TN 37996-0314 email:

Š Copyright 2009 by the Univerccsity of Tennessee. All rights reserved by the individual contributors. Phoenix is prepared entirely by student staff members and is published twice a year, excludeing special issues. Works of art, poetry, fiction and nonfiction are accepted throughout the academic year.

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Table of Contents

Jonathan Bagby}


}Infinite Space

Zac Benson}


}Paris 2

Ellen Epley}

}Paris 3

Nick McGuire}

}Rabbit Schematic #2

}Costume Party

Sara Marie Miller}

}The Enchanters

Untitled Jonathan Bagby

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Costume Party Sara Marie Miller

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The Enchanters Sara Marie Miller

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Ellen Epley

Paris 2

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Ellen Epley

Paris 3

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Rabbit Schematic #2 Nick McGuire

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Roxanna Shohadaee

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Untitled Zac Benson

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Infinite Space Zac Benson

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Phoenix - Fall 2009  

The editorially independent student literary and arts magazine of the University of Tennessee.