A Poem by Steph Kleckner

Digging the Weather

                  Steph Kleckner

Are you “digging” up dirt for winter’s grave

And waiting for spring’s flower to bring forth life to save?

Is spring finally going to awake from hibernation,

The yawning bears stretching in the cave from anticipation?

Students finally able to go home to their safe haven.

Spring has arrived; the warm temperatures are a surprising rave,

An equivalent to the soft whisper of the ocean’s wave.

New adventures we enter together, together we will be brave.

Different roads to turn on, new paths to pave.

A Poem by Stefanie Trinkl


                  Stefanie Trinkl

It boils up from beneath tight lips,
a steaming plume eating its host.
The muscles in my jaw tighten like a wrench.
My teeth grind together like the gears
of an indomitable clock.
Fingers clench to white and nails dig
into the lines of my palms.
Fury rises up in a swell from the belly to the maw.
An explosion of words and sounds and exclamations,
like fire from a barrel, sharp and fast and loud.
Breath heated, hands flailing.
A book hits the floor with the crunch of paper foldings
and a glass flies across the room,
hitting the wall with a clang and erupting onto the floor,
littering pieces and shards like buckshot.
I can feel the sweat quietly seeping from my pores
and my heart pounds in my chest like a battle drum.
Muscles twitch with adrenaline,

but there is only a chair to sit upon
and air to breathe. 

A Poem by Allie Maier

Wait for me

            Allie Maier

The sun’s just coming out from behind the trees
its golden rays stretching out towards the ground
like welcoming arms
telling everyone to wake up

Climbing down from my bunk
I return this embrace and welcome the warmth
as the frigid tile floor numbs my toes
Not even your sweatshirt
can save me from such a frost
I brave this cold morning
I leave the safety of my warm bed
because I know I will see you

No matter how messy my hair is when I wake up
even if I have to brush my teeth an extra time
to get rid of that morning breath or retainer slime
I know you won’t care
I know you will see me
I know you’d tease me
You’d say I’m such a dork
You’d blame my alarm clock
or the snooze button
but you won’t blame me
You know what it takes to get up this early
I know you know
because you do it too
you brave this morning cold

To think we’re getting up this early only for a class
But I’d like to think otherwise
because I know I will see you

I’m leaving the building now
I know I’m later than usual
My backpack hardly stays on my back
my scarf requires my attention instead
but I manage to fumble out the door
Two minutes
I know I will see you
Just two minutes more
I’m almost there
Just wait a bit longer

I know I will see you
I can see our meeting place
I don’t see you


You’ve walked on ahead
I was too late
there’s no catching up to you now
You’ve gone down that snowy path
I need to trudge behind

Your legs are too long and athletic
You’re just too tall for me
My short legs work twice the pace
but there’s no catching up to you

There’s a burning inside my lungs
it’s hot and sore and suffocating
my calves ache and this slush and snow slows me down
my scarf tugs at my throat
it’s threatening to blow away

You’re so far ahead
but I can see you
You shuffle forward
with your hands stuffed in your coat pockets
From way back here
I can see your frozen expression
as you head for the front door

I feel like I should apologize
but you’re causing me pain right now
I knew I would see you

I would yell or run to you to catch up
but people are looking
I would draw attention
And it’s too early for that
People would think me crazy

But I wish I could walk with you
and let you know I’m here
I didn’t leave you
If only you’d turn around
just glance this way on accident
Maybe you’ll notice a wandering squirrel
or look in the direction of a songbird
Just catch me in the corner of your eye
But you don’t
You move on
I feel my heart throb and lynch
This is a painful walk for the both of us
You don’t see me
I see you
I can’t reach you
Just let me talk to you
If only you waited for me.

A Poem by Colin Herzog

Tales of the Gym: Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like Alimony

                  Colin Herzog

bam, bam, bam


huff, huff

Whew, God
I love the salty
stench of a good
work out

This burning
in my


My fist sends
sends the
punching bag
reeling, only
to come back
without a
without flinching

The fight goes on.

bam, bam, bam

Take that
aaannnnnd THAT!

The punch hurts
my taped fists,
but it’s just a
faint sting—I’m
more worried that
the blood’s begin
ing to seep through
the tape, but
before I can think
about that anymore,
the bag comes
swinging back,
ready to take
more of my time
more of my energy
more of my life

take, take, take
take, take, take
taketake, take
take … take … take


every time she
comes back, she
just takes

takes the money
takes the house
takes the kids
takes the respect
takes the car
takes my mother

-“How could you cheat on a woman like her, Matt?
She is such a nice girl,
she had your children for Christ’s sake
how was that not enough for you?”

How many
fucking times
do I
have to say
that I’m SORRY

… how may
times … ?
how may times
must I grovel
must I beg
must I plead
before I’m forgiven?

Even my 5-year-old
daughter can
look at me
with disdain:

she knows.
soon, her
younger brother
will know too—
until then,
he looks happy
when I do get
to see him

huff, huff

The punching bag
swings from the
ceiling like some
forgotten pendulum

I just let it swing

Look at that
fat sonofabitch
sweating his man-boobs
off, his crack
visible to the whole
goddamn world

But at least he’s
trying 100 percent.

You can see it
in his eyes:
the desire
for improvement
for a better self
for a body people
don’t dismiss
or gag at

I can respect that,
more than Johnny McPervy
over there lifting
weights with
his girlfriend
all you can
see in his eyes
is the map
to his girl’s


At least when
the fat guy
has a moment
of weakness,
he’s the only
one who pays
but guys like me
and McPervy,
when we get weak,
we make mistakes
mistakes that cost
more than we can
pay, not without
credit, at least—and
even then, it gets so
hard to keep track

I see a fit
with barely any
gray in his hair
and some rough
stubble on his chin
and here I am
envying the fat guy


I will never be
weak again
the burn
the bag
coming back
only for my fist
to send it away

Maybe the less
thing to do
would be just let
it hit me

Good luck with that.


A Poem by Colin Herzog

Tales From the Gym: Of Love, Sacrifice, and More Dickish Motivations

                  Colin Herzog

huff … huff …
C-can you believe
that fat guy
over there?
if he trips over a
damn shoelace,
you know it’ll
cause earthquakes—oof

huff … huff …

Who the HELL
thinks that
lifting these
… fucking …
weights is,
by any stretch
of imagination,

What am I doing here?
I had a Warcraft rendezvous
match scheduled
for 10 minutes ago:
what the hell
am I
doing here?
Oh, right,
Sharon. Girlfriend.
Turns out she’s
bit of an exercise nut
and that means
I am now too.

She might be a soon-to-be
ex-girlfriend too—
oh my GOD,
I can’t feel my fingers
and my feet feel
full of pins and needles—
Dammit Last Semester Me!
you just had
to eat those
Why, WHY did
I stop working out
when I got to college—
oh right,
because it
—she has a nice personality,
Petie; just keep
reminding yourself
of … that …
her nice, bouncing
personalities that
even an exercise
bra can’t keep still
… I really
ogled at her on the
mirror on the wall
; she noticed and
she looks pissed
and I don’t 
think angry
sex is an option
if she didn’t want
me staring, she
shouldn’t be
stretching ri … ght
in … front … is
that couple
proposing to
each other
in the corner
How redneck
do you have to
be to even think
proposing in a
gym is some sorta
Hey a-holes,
stop raising
the bar and
get a room!
J-just think
happy thoughts
happy thoughts
happy thoughts
happy thoughts
happy thou—oh
God, oh GOD~!
ah, ah, ah, ow …
and I can’t put
the weights
down but,
but, it hurts
… maybe
if I just
loosened my
grip a bit—
… . ow
… . my
… . fo
… . ot
… . crack
… . ow … .
Stacie, I
think next
we’re gonna
do what
I wan …

 . .

Reunion with a Past Lover — a poem by Amy Mrotek

Reunion with a Past Lover

            Amy Mrotek

And today I awoke with the trepidations of
       anticipation, a mind shaken not stirred and brewing
over to the point of no return.

                                        You have returned

The pittering of morning sun on the brink of these lilac walls
               means nothing, intangible,
inconceivable, a line of light seeped forth and pointing
 back to the place where hands are
clutched and wishes granted and my skin preaching

I am reduced

to the tapping of feet, the pacing of rooms, the nervous
twists of taciturn hair, a breath away from breaking by the mere
musing of that frantic, carnal lace
                                             of your lips, your sculptor hands as they
            find and trace my hips.

The stampede of

                 heartpound and touch and heartpound and whirl and heartpound and heartpound and


There is no net to catch my thoughts as they
          bound endless through
mist. Your plane is pathward, your course set
                 stone straight, your fingers curled soft like ribbons
    around our picture we took that one afternoon in
                        the apple orchards, autumn air leaking,
                                            our glances as full and red as those silly little fruits that dangled
                                    hopelessly off beaming trees. They were not nearly
as delicious as your touch. I haven’t forgotten that.
I haven’t forgotten the way the sky stroked our footsteps, every turn
    a melody, every step ending in a kiss. I haven’t forgotten the splendor
of waking up by your side. I haven’t forgotten
                                     how your eyes twinkle when
    you’re about to cry, or the panic that ensued when
             you did what they always do –            
                                                                      you left

I still haven’t forgotten how much this could mean.