The Last Straw
The last straw didn’t touch her back
it showed no interest in the nodes of her spine,
a small mountain range for troubles to tumble over
it didn’t rain down on her shoulders where the weight could be borne
broad and well formed from struggle
she could’ve shifted
like a titan
added this piece to her burden
it slipped past the smooth bright cap of her skull
where she held so much chaos already
the last straw
the one that couldn’t be held
landed soft on her sternum
carried by his voice
and the weight of it
the impossible pressure
the undoing of his love in seven syllables
snapped her clean through
right along the seam she had made just for him
— Melanie Decelles ’15, Honorable Mention
Faith in Us Flounders
What faith found Aeneas
in the vanquished gods
to lay down his hard-won wisdom,
and bow again on bended knee
to worship those whose silence reigned at Troy?
What hope shaded Aeneas
but that those gods would stir again,
and storm his hollowed temple
with the holy burning fervor
that founded ages younger in maturity?
What cries raised Aeneas,
arrested in untaught terror,
seized in the bliss of slaughtered years,
as Fate rushed the unarmed gate
of his childhood city afire?
What sorrow flooded Aeneas
when he his young love abandoned,
and, while old age rode his shoulders,
clasped he in one hand hope, the other, faith,
and hid in tears his face away?
What doubt harrowed Aeneas
as erected he his clay-formed memories
upon the barren altar of his mind,
and sacrificed his pride for the honor
of the gods who failed?
What truth heard Aeneas,
when he, with drooping head,
wrung his idols’ praises from his tongue,
and stooped, again, to worship in spirit
what failed his heart to worship in truth?
What faith, O holy faith!
who, through tremor and tears –
who, through darkest sorrows and blindest doubt –
who, with hope against hope in loveless despair –
who can be true to you ‘til death?
— August Lysy ’15, First Prize Winner