Jasper Number 7 Reads

By Holly Schullo

Already, we are memory.
You sit on my shoulder,
an eagle, and I ask this
question: Why do you come
to me? We hood, unhood
each other in solitude—
I am not a native, no one
to care for, my people
are voiceless as the day
I left. We speak, arrange
to meet on Sundays, late,
after church for a matinee.
We guard the egg of secret—
in this, I cannot protest.
Things are moved in this
house, but no one accounts.
I know whatever city we circle
above, a hunger in both of us.
I sit on your forearm, complete
possession, mana, a thunderbolt,
your eyes never wanting sleep.

Holly Schullo received an MFA from University of South Carolina and is still a Palmetto girl at heart. She was awarded the Louisiana Literature Poetry Prize (2007) and a Vermont Studio fellowship (2006). First published in Yemassee, she has work in Literary Mama, Louisiana Review, and others. Schullo earned a Ph.D. at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She is now moving to Wyoming to teach English and pursue her own writing.


The Rings
By Ajit Dhillon
The Lord of the Rings marathon is on TNT
We all settle into the couch and watch
And Sauroman’s all evil-talking to McKellen
and he’s like, “You’re smoking too much Hobbit pipe weed,”
So we all start laughing.
But it gets me thinking
Sauroman imprisons Gandalf
but pot is legal in Middle Earth
Sir Ian even blew a boat
made out of smoke
in the opening scene.
So Sauroman’s the oppressor
like the Feds busting
while the tan surfers
with the Buddha eyes
say all Spicoli, “You dicks!”
The outside world can’t let
Hobbits enjoy a toke.
Gandalf: Shire’s under attack boys
Frodo: What would you ask of me?
Gandalf: Throw the power ring in a volcano
Frodo: Really? Do we have to?
(Gandalf nods, Sam’s wet eyes on Frodo)
Frodo: Fine.
Sam: Can I come? Mr. Frodo?
So yeah, there’s a strong argument to be made for marriage equality in addition to pot legalization because after all it’s the relation between Sam and Frodo that keeps them alive, their love, their longing for each other, some may call it subtext, but when I watch them infiltrate Mordor, I think of Gone with the Wind, we’re bearing witness to the love story of our age, and like Scarlett and Rhett, after suffering through their great war, end apart, so do Frodo and Sam, living separate Shire lives, stealing glances when they can at The Green Dragon, lifting a bitter pint in toast to a world they saved that refuses to confront the love they share, all the other hobbits in the room pretending not to notice the conditions that force their heroes to suffer silently.
Aragon asks Legolas
“What do your elf eyes see?”
But the only thing I can think of
is the repetition of
the question
The man sticking it to the elf
for being different
Unable to ask him simply
What do you see? 

Ajit Dhillon is enrolled in the University of South Carolina’s MFA program in Creative Writing. He writes fiction and poetry and is currently at work on a novel set against the backdrop of the 2007 financial crisis in New York.

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