What I Have Learned From My Friends at Hardin-Simmons University, at City Light Community Ministries

Jonathon Reed

“joy can take us by surprise
in the midst of great sadness”
(W. S. Merwin)*

One day we find ourselves
running on a ridgeline,
an ice storm seconds behind,
just time enough to flatten
our body on a ledge,
face pressed into the rock
and hold on with fingers and toes,
the Norther’s ice-sharp claws
digging at our back, seeming
to settle in, certain
we will have to exhale,

Matteo Grande

ease our grip just enough
to be flung onto
insubstantial air,
a nightmare falling
to, this time, wake up
with a heart jolt
still on the ledge,
the old man big-horn sheep
pressed beside us alive,


the storm passed,
grandfather ram
shaking ice from his coat,
rising and returning back
the way he had come,
solitary, God’s watcher
on the mountain
for us–loners surprised
above the abyss,
no time, yet, to pray.

Atharva Tulsi


*Merwin, W. S. “From Our Shadows.” Garden Time (poems), Copper Canyon Press, 2016, p. 7.