The Crossings



Fallen Cherub

by Susan Miley 

A little girl in a Baptist Church

might’ve fallen from Heaven.

Her fluffy eyelashes

and paired wings flutter,

as she beams under the glances

of the other church-goers.

In her white tights,

she giggles quietly.

Her golden curls

bounce and bounce

as her black Mary Janes

click and click

She says please and thank you;

she smiles bashfully behind

her mother. She’s like a lamb,

but instead of green meadows,

she lies still in the

orange velvet pew.

The ladies with pearls and powdered faces

leave red kisses on her cheeks.

The deacons invite her curiosity

at meetings, sneaking her candy

under the conference table.

Adored. Praised.

She is cast in every Christmas play.

She earns a 4.0 in Vacation Bible School.

She never misses a Sunday.

On Easter, wrapped in a

pink dress and topped

with an elegant hat,

her devil tail and

devil horns poke,

hidden from the preacher.

After service, her family

slides into the Cadillac.

Suddenly, her dress is too itchy.

Her baby sister is far too close

and there’s no place to put

her dolly.

She cries, “I’m so cold!”

but soon wails, “I’m too hot!”

She complains that she’s hungry

but not for that restaurant.

“I want what I want!” she thinks,

“Isn’t that what Jesus wants?”

Her mother glares into the

rear-view mirror.

The little girl frowns,

folding her arms across

her chest.

“What?” she asks in surprise

to her mother’s reflection.

“At least I’m not like the

loud kids from the bad neighborhood.

Mommy, they never bring their Bibles

and they don’t know John 3:16!

They wear dirty jeans

and tennis shoes to church, Mommy—

to church!”

She plops her head

in her hand with a pout.

“I’m a good girl,” she remembers.

“Jesus loves me,

this I know!”

Yes, she sings.

Jesus loves the good girl—

the Bible tells her so.


A Day

by Brianne Larson

8:01  My alarm is still buzzing causing the vibrations to alert me that another day is beginning.

8:32  I choose to hit the snooze button three more times and my tired body is finally forced to roll over and sit up and get out of bed. I have to get up and get going.

9:03  I have approximately forty-seven minutes to achieve a certain level of perfection, which requires a full face of makeup and putting each blonde hair perfectly into place, yet this Monday morning I barely have enough energy to put on sweatpants. Yet, I rummage through my closet anyways and put on a shirt that cost me $42 but at least I know someone will let me know I look cute today, and for some reason it’s worth all the effort. I seek attention, and validation from other people is affirmation that I am worthy of their attention.

10:07  I sit in chapel and watch from my balcony seat as all the people walk by. I can pick out of the crowd a few people: some of them I hate, some of them I love, and some of them I wish I could switch places with. Why does it always feel like my life is a train that’s about to derail.

10:34  I’m tuning out the chapel speaker not because I’m not interested, but because the last time I listened, he brought up the topic of God being our Father. I lost the ability to see God as a father when my own father skewed my perception on what a father is. In my family, my father destroyed my happiness and abused my purity. I am incapable of imagining God as a father who seeks good for his children when I’ve never been given an earthly picture of what that looks like. So, I question myself and I question faith for 16 more minutes, but the day drags on and that’s all the time I am allowed to dwell on that subject.  I have to keep going but this thought haunts me.

10:57  I bump into my ex. I told him everything. He knows each and every part of who I am. Now he has become someone that I could never trust and never respect. I regret letting him into my life. I regret allowing him to walk through my darkest hours with me. But that was a year ago and my friends have told me I need to move on already. I dismiss the thought as I walk to class. I have to keep going.

11:06  As I finally sit down, I can’t get my mind to focus on what my professor is trying to say. There’s too much going through my head. I’m trying to block out all the anxiety. I have to be able to focus on this. I need to know this for the exam. I take a couple notes, but my mind still wanders back to the fact my grandpa is in the hospital and I have yet to call him. And my mind continues to wander to big life issues, the ones we don’t talk about. But the fact that we don’t talk about them doesn’t change the fact that they are still a part of my reality. But, I have to shut it down, block it out and keep going.

12:24  I sit in the dining commons writing, hoping I see a friendly face. I’m in need of a hug, because today has been exceptionally lonely. I don’t get one, so I stand up, throw out the food I barely touched this noon hour and keep going.

12:56  I sit down in class and take what feels like my first breath of the day. This class feels safe. That’s my favorite word and I probably use it too much but it’s the only way I can describe how my heart feels when I enter a space where I can let down my guard and let down my facade of perceived perfection and just be. There is no rush here, there’s a tranquility and a sense of peace. I can focus on the doing, instead of the going.

2:07  I rush into my last class of the day 2 minutes late. I am in the home stretch. This class is where I check my emails. I have 17 of them. Two are reminders that even though class ends at 3 pm, I still have commitments and responsibilities. I sigh, and cause the person in front of me to turn around. I smile at her as if to say “It’s alright.” Yet, to me it’s not because tonight I have to keep going.

3:11  I go see Taryn. She’s my saving grace. When life feels heavy and I am overwhelmed, she helps me breath and gives me the energy to keep moving. She’s my safe person and I know I pay her to listen to my problems, but I think she still would care regardless. She’s a phenomenal human. We talk, like we always do. I sit in her big comfy chair with my legs tucked up to my chest as she listens. And somehow, by listening, she makes the problems I face fade away. I know I can keep going.

4:47  My beige Ford Focus has seen me in my finest and darkest hours. It holds me as I cry. It zooms along as I blare the radio and have a mini jam session. The 8 minutes it takes me to get to work have become my favorite 8 minutes of every day. For those 8 minutes life is just blurring by me, and I do not have to be anyone or go anywhere. It’s just me. I no longer worry about the going or the doing. But 8 minutes is not very long, and I have to keep on going.

5:01 I walk into work, and place the hat on my head and a smile on my face as I clock in.

10:27 I finally clock out and find my way to my car.

11:42 I’ve been going all day. I have expanded all my energy. I am drained and exhausted. I curl up into a ball and lay my head on my pillow to get 6 hours of sleep before tomorrow comes and I have to keep going.

The Church of True Israel: A Scene from the Midwestern Life – Alex Busse

The air outside is hot and humid.  The sun is a blinding white blot, reminiscent of a blot one may see by standing too quickly.  The boy lives in a town in northeast Indiana outside of Fort Wayne.  His house is on a short street with a cul-de-sac.  This street, like all other streets in the housing addition, is lined with identical looking two story houses.  He knows the names of each person that lived on his road, and he thinks its odd that two preachers live along the same street—heavenly-minded folk dwelling near his father.  Each house is on a flat plot of land about an acre large.  All the yards are well kept, and the boy knows them.  Continue reading “The Church of True Israel: A Scene from the Midwestern Life – Alex Busse”

L is for Lost – Amanda Spencer

Take the green line to Clark and Lake, then transfer to the orange line and ride that to Quincy, and then walk the rest of the way from there? Or was it transfer at Adam’s  and Wabash and ride the brown to Quincy?

I stand in front of the gate, tapping my heels in excitement for my first big city job interview. I realize that I should have written down the directions my aunt Mary gave me, or at least asked her more questions about how to get there. Continue reading “L is for Lost – Amanda Spencer”

Sing, and be Heard – Haleigh Smith

SHANTAY: A Frustrated and angry teenage girl

AHASBAI: Middle-aged, warm counselor


(The stage is entirely black except for a spotlight over a chair and couch stage right, set up like a psychiatrist’s office. The chair is occupied by DOCTOR AHASBAI. The couch remains empty. Footsteps are heard as SHANTAY enters, and stops to knock at the office door. )

AHASBAI: (Rising) Come in, come in. (Motions to shake SHANTAY’S hand. She refuses and flops on the couch abruptly) Please . . . have a seat.

SHANTAY: (To herself) He thinks he’s funny. Continue reading “Sing, and be Heard – Haleigh Smith”

The Smile – Morgan Spiess

Finally, he died. Today, at lunch, he died.

“He’s dead,” I told him. And he didn’t believe me that he had died.

He had lived for so long. So incredibly long. Years. Decades. Maybe even a century. No one really knows, even the doctor didn’t know. Which doesn’t surprise me, but what does, was that the doctor couldn’t even kill him. I had tried for years and years and decades, maybe even a century, and no one could kill him. Read more…

Short Story: Weight – Joseph Beachy

“Love of two is one. Here but now they’re gone. Came the last night of sadness. And it was clear she couldn’t go on. Then the door was open and the wind appeared. The candles blew then disappeared. The curtains flew then he appeared… saying don’t be afraid. Come on baby… and she had no fear. And she ran to him… then they started to fly. They looked backward and said goodbye… she had become like they are. She had taken his hand… she had become like they are. Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper…” Continue Reading…

Short Story: Caged – Taylor Gilliam

It was a place you’ve never heard of, in a time long before you were thought of. It was a celebration, and the extravagant evening, the feast, it was all for her. As the beauty of the village, she was the prize. She was in the eye of every man, young or old. Continue Reading…

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