Sarah Pierce

Late December Mystery

Ascending the northeastern ridge of Guyot,
two men discovered post hole hoofprints
through the snow, sluffed powder slipping
away like leaden plumage or crushed limestone
through a quarry’s flute. They followed heavy
tracks for three hours, snowshoes holding
their boots aloft between frozen ground and light.
When they paused where wind cut drifts
across the saddle of the hill’s arch-backed gap,
exposed stone hid the passage of the mount
like ash consumed within a river’s froth.
Half a mile further on they began to find
saddlery bits and various tack like downy
feathers littering the trail, dark leather
wet from scuffs of slush, then one man
called out that he’d found crisp brass
sleigh bells shining in late December sun.

Ethan Gorham Photography

Notes Toward a Pure Hauntology

History is perched and crooning –
a vulture’s smirk reflected
in fawn’s blood fifty feet below.

Turning cog! Tuning fork! –
imbibe me; strike me as useful and send me
tumbling toward a more delicious reality.

I have found my kin there –
beneath the pungent forest floor.
Beneath the rot of outdated modes,

we lie in wait for the seventh
seal to be broken; we wait on our bellies
for the space between the notes

to once again reign over the
thunderous colosseum of my car payment
is due in ten days, and I make less than

twelve dollars an hour, and I have
a child and why the fuck should this be so hard?

Europe is teething again.

The lightness of our place has become
the most unbearable tickle. While
wholeness peers ‘round corners at us

like a specter of Marx, shalom crawls
convalescent at our heels but
there is now NO TIME TO REAP –

there is time for no new thing
under the sun, and – in a breath – I have understood:
we are petals on the wet, black pavement.

Art by Aaron Lelito


Golden friends launch like missiles
into aquamarine glinting with diamonds.
Tunneling earthworm, I keep
three points of contact at all times.
They laugh, encourage, bribe, threaten.
“You’ll pop right back up. See?
Just like us.”

Another pool, another hot day
thirteen or fourteen summers before
when I was nothing more than a sinking scrap
of bone and muscle and the waterslide
sent me skimming and proud and plunging and panicking,
a piece of gravel falling to the heart of the stone
before I was caught.

Since when was I like them,
the bold ones, with their boyfriends
and cars and false nails,
hurling themselves into danger
that only I can see?

They call.
They chant.
They promise me that I am wrong,
that this water is as harmless as any other.
My feet are tile.
Finally, a friend gives in. Water
fractures like a stone around us.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN