Stonework is published by Houghton College, a Christian liberal arts college located in New York’s rural Genesee Valley. Stonework seeks a diverse mix of mature and emerging voices in fellowship with the evangelical tradition. Published twice a year, the journal reflects the arts community at Houghton College where excellence in music, writing, and the visual arts has long been a distinctive.

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  • Issue 6
    Poetry by Paul Willis and Thom Satterlee. Fiction and interview with Lori Huth. Essay by James Wardwell, and student poets from Christian campuses.
  • Issue 5
    Poetry by Susanna Childress and Debra Rienstra. Fiction excerpt by Emilie Griffin. Art from Houghton's 2007 presidential inauguration and a forum on women writing.
  • Issue 4
    Matthew Roth--new poems. Diane Glancy--from One of Us and an interview. John Tatter-on gardens and poetry. The Landscapes of John Rhett. Stephen Woolsey--on the poetry of Jack Clemo. James Wardwell--on Herrick.
  • Issue 3
    Poetry by Julia Kasdorf, Robert Siegel and Sandra Duguid. Fiction by Tom Noyes. The portraits of Alieen Ortlip Shea. An anthology of Australian Poets
  • Issue 2
    Thom Satterlee - Poems from Burning Wycliff with an appreciation by David Perkins. Alison Gresik - new fiction and an interview. James Zoller - Poems from Living on the Floodplain.
  • Issue 1
    Luci Shaw — new poems with an appreciation by Eugene H. Peterson & Hugh Cook — new fiction and an interview

Monday, December 12, 2005

The You The Me The Sudden Elsewhere

By Jonathan Hartt

Isla De La Luna

The longboats were being launched.
Women were mending nets.
But that was a village away
and I saw only fires. We ran the beach
as crabs rose and scattered
before us: under us
the polished distance
of stars some people pretend
burn silently. Breathing heavily
the boy beside me stopped.
I said maybe we will be caught.
He asked for the brick.
I hesitated. A wave fell in the dark.
He said maybe I am getting weak.
That I should just watch.
I said I am fine. Here it is.
For a moment he smiled
to feel its weight. Then he was gone.
I could hear him running.
Behind me a wave broke quietly
and whispered its withdrawal.
It will be like this always and always
between us, and I have warned you
about the nature of things, I thought.
At least I wish I had.
Instead I turned to follow
and laugh at a large dead crab:
even crushed
the pincers opened once more.
A gesture that seemed to say it will be like this
in the end, and I have warned you.
So beneath my laughter
I was afraid.

Upon Arrival

An egret is crying in a papaya tree, in a salt marsh,
in the world’s name.

You will see such things: cacao seeds arranged in squares
on the road to dry.

The farmers’ wives naked to the waist, slapping rocks
with their garments. Lovely and grim at the river.

Under the swaying papaya, now a vulture
stands over a nestling.

Anything to declare. The man asks from his counter. Only then
I recall the rows of palm fronds

folded down
like vultures’ wings. So silent.

The Time Comes When

The wind shifts west. No sound
before the curtain falls, sending its endless idea
of hail
bursting over riverrock and roofs.
Tell me little ones what string wore thin.
You jump
as if something has been traded.

Will you join us
we each
throw ourselves down.

No I have finished with falling objects.
I longer speak the language.
Once as a boy
I climbed to watch the sun
drop behind a crater’s rim.
Shadows went before me
over the shale.
I wondered why I had come
to depend upon the sulfurous moon.
That night I waited while the mountain slept.
From my bunk I watched my father dress.
I pulled my blankets higher
in that small Andean refuge
and pictured ice flows with deep unspoken
chasms each foot closer
to the sky. Soon the men tethered to my father
would each nod
like paratroopers before an open door
and duck out into the dark.

Interjecting with a Line by Muir

Sometimes through wavering light and shadow
an albatross called. Sometimes it was nothing,
or the creaking rafters
of night. Sometimes breeze. He was sometimes shirtless
on the porch, sometimes heeding
black waters. Beyond the breakers, buoy lights
on the horizon
marked the shrimp cages. His stilted shack
sometimes smelled of coco,
or ceviche
or hermit crabs—
they scratched sometimes the insides
of a steel pail. He would sometimes need bait
to cast into dawn, and sometimes
he set the planetary drag.

A Gesture, Lastly There is Only This

And if you want I will
in the open field of farewell
call out,
ripples rounding out like hills
and some sea falling
in the long grass now
like that
hoped for something—
it quivers quivers
and still
this breath at life’s breakwall,
the sudden elsewhere
no one really deserves.
If you’d like try this sometime.
Try standing in place.
There is a great field that runs the sunned length and breadth of
sanity where
even the edges you cannot be ready for.
So faint this field
it might be blinked away.
You might be
the flax that bows its head.
Soon small birds pass over.
There is only this
quiet, this
flesh and dust and backward looking.

They say the rose is hard to kill. So too
memories of peaks: distant,
inverted blooms. I haven’t forgotten their names.
But in the end
snow caps melt, this new laid bed of hail
melts. Only the moment remains.
O bird on the wire, I’m told so many things.
Love some claim
replaced religion
and I am a private spectacle.
You seem to have heard this too.
Your beak turns gold,
then black.
Tell me do you wait
for words behind the seedling
Maybe you listen.
Maybe you lift those clouds
across the eye of heaven.