The Argiope

by Alice Friman

[audio:http://shenandoahliterary.org/612/files/2011/08/Alice_The-Argiope.mp3|titles=The Argiope] Between the weeping cherry and the porch, the argiope floats head down at the center of an enviable patience. Her egg sac—little ochre marble, little kindergarten sun— pasted to the rail: another Pandora’s hope at the bottom of … Continue reading

A Very Still Life

by Nancy Willard

The night after the service, his sister appears to him.  She is gathering her paintings for the show her gallery promised: seascapes like bowls of broth, moons like Camembert wheels, chunked off and eaten.  Her life’s work! She asks his … Continue reading

Ode to Melancholy

by David Wagoner

–translated from the English of John Keats No, you won’t take those easy ways to forget yew-berries, wolf-bane, nightshade, death-watch beetle, or death moth.  They could lead to what you thought was your body’s inevitable goal of darkness. My holy … Continue reading

Peeling an Onion

by David Wagoner

This extraordinarily self-centered form on the outside seems modest enough:  a brown, dry, thin,             easily broken, vulnerable coat             which is nevertheless as good           … Continue reading

Big Granny

by Tess Taylor

[audio:http://shenandoahliterary.org/612/files/2011/08/Big-Granny-Recording.mp3|titles=Big Granny] When they found Emeline, a nail held her sack dress together at the neck.  She lived by gathering herbs to sell for curing leather from the land her people held since they took it from the Cherokee, quilted … Continue reading


by E. M. Schorb

This compass-headed bird,                                     dead-reckoning South in Fall, arcing its bloody breast                       … Continue reading


by Gibbons Ruark

[audio:http://shenandoahliterary.org/612/files/2011/08/Ruark-Late.mp3|titles=Ruark Late] Late night, late love, and at the window, rain, And then the aftermath of love and rain, The wakefulness beside a kitchen window, The whole house quiet as the soul of darkness Except for the sounds of two … Continue reading

Pruning the Back Boundary

by Thomas Reiter

After reaching down and delivering spring’s terminal clusters, a whiteness mixing citrus and jasmine whenever we opened the back door, our mock-orange bushes have let fall their thumbnail blossoms, leaving seed capsules in their pale green starbursts. A display of … Continue reading

You Fall into It

by Daye Phillippo

That ink stain shaped like Kentucky, on my Great-grandfather Orpheus’ library table at which I now sit to translate Hebrew. I wonder what he would think, this ancestor, this “Beloved Country Minister,” his gravestone reads, born a hundred years before … Continue reading

Emma Hardy Speaks from the Grave

by Elisabeth Murawski

It was the cook who held me, dying. Thomas loved me more in retrospect, dipping his pen in the well, resurrecting Cornwall. On his writing desk, he kept a calendar set to March 7th, the day we met, a fetish … Continue reading