A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Caroline Crew& Chris Emslie


                   after Louise Glück

funny how 
one largeness
contains another 

a lake 
on a mountain
a mouthful of wet sky

dried spit on the atlas
we forget has real life 

how a life 
is indistinguishable
regardless of cell size

it behooves us 
to be generous
& cross great 

expanses of water 
though we ignore
our own liquid natures


when you say a great expanse
of water I forget my body fits
that description

same as the seven
billion faces I have yet 
to swim in 

all land is an island
away from itself & the solid 
parts between waterbed bodies

but it is lonely to be your own pool
& there is no scope
for boats made of garbage

if I can’t contaminate your ocean 
please tell me you’re wearing 
a mermaid tail     (not pictured)

I still keep a "secret box" of trinkets at my parents' house that includes good luck charms (blue jay wing, rabbit's foot) that are quite gruesome. They were lovingly made & given to me, but now I much prefer those good luck charms made of less fleshy stuff but still lovingly given-- tiny ruby earrings my god mother left me after she passed away because I used to tell her the 'hearts in her ears' were precious. 

Caroline Crew edits ILK journal. Her poems have appeared or forthcoming in Bat City Review, PANK, Cream City Review, and Salt Hill Journal, among others.  She wrote the chapbooks 'small colours like wild tongues' (dancing girl press, 2013), and, with Chris Emslie, 'Your Stupid Fortune Gives Me Stupid Hope' (Furniture Press Books, forthcoming 2014). Currently, she lives between Old England and New England.


I have a thing about St. Christopher pendants, even though I'm not religious at all. My parents both wear one, and bought me one when I turned 18. I have a lot of travel anxiety, not to mention that I recently moved across the Atlantic--and have a habit of falling for boys with an irrepressible desire to see the world. I never, ever take mine off. Even if there's debate among believers about whether or not my namesake is real, he remains my most important souvenir of home and the rest of the world too.

Chris Emslie lives in Tuscaloosa, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. His poems have appeared / are forthcoming in Anti-, Birdfeast and Indiana Review, among others. With Caroline Crew, he co-authored the chapbook 'YOUR STUPID FORTUNE GIVES ME STUPID HOPE' (Furniture Press, 2014). At fifteen he decided if he couldn't be a superhero he'd be a poet, because it seemed like the next best thing.