“I love it when students take poetry and art and it almost begins to dance because they connect it to ideas that are happening in the classroom. Those are magical moments for me […] We’re doing all of this through transforming relationships. It’s more than just a mission statement—it’s the place where imagination happens. This is what we call the theater of imagination. Tools can tend to be a little bit abstract but they give us a lot of power to do this work. But the theater of imagination becomes: Why is this important?

—Dr. Chelle Stearns

Today we are sharing a collection of submissions from Issue 8 of Lit Magazine, an annual publication that exists to promote the craft of writing and showcase literary excellence produced by members of our community.


by Ellen Cline

The day after she said she longed to die
I drove away from Church of the Holy Trinity.
I had been sifting Father Ben’s homily
For some thick root of grace to put between my teeth,
Like bracing for sharp pain without anesthesia.
I’d knelt and stood and knelt, my mind two feet above my body
Seeking comfort in the piety I could not feel
But soaked through witness from the second pew to last.
I saw old Thom.
Thom, with his staff in hand, tall as his head,
and thick around. He needs it to move,
To stand, to bend, to kneel, on knees torn up by shrapnel.
Vietnam, his wife said. I used to fire pottery in her garage.
Before cancer. Before her seven cats were spread
Among the parish for safekeeping.
Thom would be sitting by the door, smoking a cigarette.
His hand would tremor when he took it from his lips.
Sometimes he’d stare, sometimes he’d see me to my soul
And pull me to his whiskered face, eyes like black holes.
That Sunday, when I came to church
Long-stretched and worn, I fell into a pew
Loosing tears that seeped endless
Into my cardigan. I watched Thom up front.
I saw his old head bowed. I heard him shuffle
Slow and painful steps to read the Psalter in a voice that didn’t shake.
Not like his hands, which trembled as he raised them
When we stood to sing the closing mercy.
He did that every week, both arms outstretched
To the wooden cross at front of the chapel,
Hands quaking visibly above his gray and balding head.
Sometimes he’d fling them wide
Through the cloud of incense and my breath would catch,
Thinking of the nightmares in his eyes sometimes.
O Lord God,
Lamb of God,
Son of the Father
Who takest away the sins of the world
Have mercy upon us.
Receive our prayer.
He’d seen me in the back afterward and came close
To clasp my hand in his two trembling ones.
I hadn’t been there in a year. He knew me though.
How are you Thom I’d said.
Better now he’d said.
I set the vision of his raised arms between my teeth
Now when I wake, miles from the cross.



by Rachel Luke

the wildness
I feel her howling inside of me
stretching as she awakes
after years of my silencing her
I am frightened of her energy
the goodness
of her untamed strength
she could take me anywhere
but oh how I love adventure
and even if I tremble
I’m headed into the wild
to find who I have always been


The Crows

by Kyle Petricek

They show up in my writing
They flitter over my shoulder
They call out into the world
What are you doing here?
They followed me across the country.
There was no escaping them
Their laughter woke me up
What are you doing here?
I can’t get away from them.
I can’t unsee them.
I can’t unhear them
What are you doing here?
Beauty seems to unfold in its own time
Its not to be forced or coerced
It wont be opened a moment sooner
It will not be missed
Perhaps they were telling me to stop
To see
To hear
What I cannot

To learn more about submitting to Lit, please visit their website.