Fall Quarterly, 2019

Two Poems by Penelope Summerall


Wasp Hives 

In her mind, the world was open.
Split into pieces from packs. Like dogs.
Chasing and forgetting our heels at the gate.
She told me once that the field was never something for daylight;
it waited on the alligators, drifting clawed hands
through worn and muddy paths.
She liked to listen to them and share stories by fire
as they waded and laughed into water.
The air was loud and alive, brushing past pines
and the old wasp hives our father cut down and displayed.
We never knew how the holes inside
its paper caves had been homes,
but when she’d stick fingers through its grey remains,
it’d crumble on soil holding barefoot toes.

The wasps wouldn’t return, but the dogs would,
and the alligators always arrived to bathe in the darkness.
They’d hunt as they hoped the stories would end,
the fire would die,
and the air would be silent.


Seeing Yellow 

When she tries to remember, her eyes shake.
They glaze over like melted wax below dying flames
while her body is a buoy in a hurricane,
surfacing to a world of yellow walls and chipping paint.

Her fragments of him are torn and strung together
like threads hanging from children’s hand-me-down sweaters,
and when she tries to cut their ties,
there are knots she can’t unwind,
and suddenly, she’s there again, in the shadows she never saw
until everything was dark around eyes like chipping oyster shells.
She focuses on the yellow, on the wallpaper she hates
when he’s yelling about what she deserves,
and like a jacket in a hailstorm, she covers ears in hands
that don’t feel like hers anymore.

But she remembers the day the walls fell apart.
She sat atop covers, blocking the laugh from the crash of the rubble
and the sounds that still shake her,
but she doesn’t see yellow wallpaper anymore.
It’s buried below bricks, beneath painted-over cracks
and the holes she kicked in the colors he tried to strip away.


Penelope Summerall is a senior at Tufts University, double-majoring in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies. Her upbringing in Charleston, South Carolina has generated many of the rich experiences she draws upon in her writing to create vibrant, and often dark, imagery. With childhood favorites like Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Maya Angelou nurturing her passion along the way, she appreciates the liberation and metamorphoses of thought that poetry allows her, both as a writer and a reader. She hopes to publish more of her work in the future while she pursues a career in Psychology.


Two Poems by Lexy Roberts


A poem about that one time I held a yoga ball above my head thinking of a god tasked with holding the earth 


My arms tingle and
I thought:
WOW that must suck for him.

It’s uncomfortable.


Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a shark from 1935 puking up a human arm

I most often do so in the shower
Ya know ‘cus water
Once I considered pouring salt on myself
to complete my sharkly
Experience  I already have salt in spades though
I like to do this act— to help face and
Prepare for the real act
The body
My body
Rejecting its self
Like that shark and that human arm
Close your eyes
Clutch flowers strung around your neck
Almond and lemon blossoms
And springs of witch hazel and invasive mint
My inner shark is a trouble -maker
At the first sign of blood she devours and
I end up practicing and pretending again


Lexy Roberts is a current undergrad at Utah State University. Where she studies Tech Writing and Creative Writing and works as a poetry editor for Sink Hollow.

On why poetry matters: To me, poetry is a way to express the noise in my brain and a way that we reach out to each other.

Home by Sonam Tsering

Ask me not
It hurts me often
It’s neither a place nor space
Where I sleep
Not at all a street or school
Where I walk
It’s there
Where my heart hovers
Until it’s hurt
It’s there
Where I walk and talk
As if I own every piece of land
It’s there
Only in my dream
And I dream often

Sonam Tsering was born in Tibet and brought up in India where he studied under His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. When he left Tibet, he was too small to know that it meant he would not see his parents again for many years. He recently completed his MA in Public Policy from O.P. Jindal Global University and now serves as the General Secretary of the Tibetan Youth Congress. He lives with his motto: “I have enough time to rest, but I don’t have a minute to waste.” He often dreams, dreams of going back to his home in Tibet.


Walls by Ksanbah Lyngwa

Many would see a wall
And say that’s that.


See and wonder what’s beyond.

Time passes.
The walls we break we build upon.
Another wall.
We still wonder what’s beyond.

Time passes.
Walls broken.
PIllars too.

We only see a wall.
We wonder what’s beyond.


Ksanbah Lyngwa is from Shillong, India, Meghalaya


Students at Maine’s Berwick Academy are no strangers to poetry.  With an annual poet-in-residence program Berwick affords students the rich opportunity to steep in poetry every April for a full week, in addition to poetry encounters within their English classes throughout the year. Some students take especially to the craft in deeply moving, often profound, beautiful, and sometimes surprising ways.  Four such poets are featured here:

Bella Gorman (entering grade 9), Belle Greenshields (entering grade 8), Noah Rich (entering grade 8), and Cole Roenick (entering Grade 8).

These students learned from this year’s poet-in-residence, Marjorie Thomsen, and created something truly valuable and fresh, inspired by poets they read, such as Carl Sandburg.  They graciously agreed to share their poems in our middle school poetry collection, and two of the poets also read their poems aloud in our evening community poetry event.  These poets are brave, inspired, and inspiring.


I Love You More by Belle Greenshields

With all the holes I dig I remember digging yours
I remember keeping my face straight
And when you dropped in that hole I dug for you
The one thing I forgot was you
I remember being mad at you for leaving
But never remember what filled my heart

I hope that one day I won’t have to dig a hole
And that I will be lowered next to you
I hope I can remember what about you made me

But I will not be lowered next to you
He will be there
He was yours and you were his

But I should be next to you
I knew you better
You may not know it but I was there for you
I gave you the notes
Not him

You didn’t know me
But I knew you

I love you more.


I Wait by Isabella Gorman

For we meet by one or the other
Do I welcome you vulnerable
But open
Or do I put up my defense protected
But distant
As I mill about this dreary train track the crisp leaves of fall now
Drenched and soggy
Provide a solid dripping beat
For me to focus on
As I wait for you


Questions by Noah Rich

Why do we violently lash out at each other in hate like a snake in danger?
Why do we have to be so isolated while not agreeing on a middle ground?
Why do we attack, physically or verbally, people who are different than us?
Why must we always have our way, while not seeing that people suffer for
our nearsightedness, struggling to feed themselves and families?
Why do we not respect people who are the opposite gender or other status?
Why do we not respect nature and just throw things to the side without
second thought?
Why must we leech the earth of its resources, not thinking about our
future? Why do we snap at the smallest things?
Why do we do things that help us but hinder others?
Why can we not live in symmetry, like a leaf branching out from its stem?
Why can we not just live as one race, one human species, one planet?

These things should come naturally to us, as one human race, not separated by anything.

The question we should be asking is
How can we change?


Choose Who You Meet

by Carl Sandburg and Cole Roenick

The single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open asking hand, held out and waiting.
For we meet by one or the other.
We meet here.
We meet there.
We meet everywhere,
We may never meet
But we will meet someone
We truly love.