The Shine Journal - The Light Left Behind

Journeys Through Grief and Beyond

Offerings from Sandy Olson-Hill


Animal Control


 Came the expected call regarding your father.

 Regarding inconvenience and expense, howling excess,

 you could put in a cage; within a prison pending

 innocence is euthanized in anonymous anguish, she

 her kittens, roll frame over feline,

 fur stacked awkward; limbs fumbling frantic.


 In the air absent reason,

 you stand, black hat, hate, in hand harvesting.

 Shrapnel screaming.

 Stiletto through a blood black sun;

 blind sky eye querying;

 I, mourning wrapping midnight around me.


 In black ashes for her, black ashes for him,

 much like you; so much like you,

 found with furious fist clenched round a scotch & milk;

 a coat to conceal the hole in his soul

 chewed to freedom only death could provide.


 The funeral atmosphere, the royal pause,

 when old lace and milk money asked

 and you lied.

 She misses her grandfather

 lied you, while I

 turned away from the window,

 to throw up my heart in your car.


 A candy blue caddy, you loved,

 greater than God; like you

 in between my gold bones shining.

 Blood magic hiding so much of you.

 Raging beast between my reason.

 Red gun behind the sun.                                        


 Dormant Refuge


The Cadillac a gift from my father to my mother is still like dormant refuse in their driveway. In the kitchen my mother leans over the sink. Time as curved her spine into a question mark as the potato skins drop like errant cyclones circling the disposal. “Celia” she whispers. She has a premonition about the Cadillac. She is certain one day it will devour her. She looks up at me unsure if I will understand. 

In the living room, my father sleeps in his ancient La-Z- Boy recliner, one hush puppy slipper dangling awkwardly. On a tray beside him are numerous pill bottles. Few are current the rest loiter out of date. I do not wake him. My visits are perfunctory due to ghosts beyond exorcism.>  Emerging from her bedroom my mother signals me to wait while she pirouettes in the new dress my father bought her from an obscure catalogue. Wih a size three frame shrouded in a size eight dress, she is fragile steel. The sales tag will remain attached. The symmetry to her closet. 

When I motion to leave, she is turning. As I exit, her pleats dance in accordance to motion; she spins momentarily eclipsed between the folds.


 VSA Teaching Artist, Sandy Olson-Hill's flash prose and poetry has been published in Our Stories Literary Journal, Best of Our Stories, Mindprints, Wordgathering, Brushings Art& Literary Journal, Dead Flowers:A Poetry Rag,Apocrypha and Abstractions and recently in Specs Literary Journal. Hill's awards include Arned Goettling's Academy of American Poets Prize and first in Open Doors Short Fiction. Hill fosters rescued domestic pets and facilitates a writing group sponsored by Indiana's New Albany Library.




Contact Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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