Autumn/Winter Issue

The Jesus Year


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

His name tastes like call whiskey after eight o'clock,
Earl Grey tea with a splash of milk and sugar on a rainy afternoon,
And a McDonald's Coke from the drive-through window before the morning
All at the same time.

In a swirling sweet warm colliding front of bacon and eggs and toast and
buttered grits;
Hanging thick along the strip in Essex when the tide changes;
Prying through a crack in the passenger-side window at 65mph on I-10
East in New Orleans:
Something lingers everywhere He has been and everywhere he will be.

The name springs forth from any native tongue
Like a cheetah tangoing with an elephant.
Like a C major chord or the F# scale flushing out from a 1960's rock n'
roll band organ-
Oh, to part both lips and push His name into melody and harmony.

How two bodies holding on for dear life feel like one.
When fingers finger chin-whiskers on the third day since the last growth
met a Gillette guillotine.
Where bare feet and palms wear through from climbing an old oak tree in
a backyard on Abita Rd.
There is He sundered in sweet surrender.

All of this is reflected in the opaque glowing orb where lives the man
in the moon,
In the climbing cumulus cloud the Cessna 152 banks around,
In the eyes of that Afghani girl on that cover of National Geographic.
I can see Him 360 different ways 365 times over; in perpetuam rei


Was the year 2000
When I turned 33
And wondered
I would die
Before my time
A mendicant
The chance I mistook my calling
To be just another sinner
Rather than the returned Messiah


I, once upon a familiar place
of guardian angels and holy ghosts,
dared stare into his hanging face
and look for something more than most;

What hoped a boy of five or six
to bring down from the crucifix?

I, torn away from childhood plays
in surrounding thicket and backyard field,
did soon overcome his Medusa's gaze
to look for something else to yield;

What hoped a boy of five or six
to bring down from the crucifix?

I, now tossed and listing in my thirty-sixth sea
far from guardian angels and holy ghosts,
dare stare into my hanging mirror at me
and find there something more than most:

In a giving tree of leaves and sticks
a boy played up in his crucifix.


The reason a dog won't hold eye contact with me;
the reason I cannot stare into the reflection of my eyes in a mirror;
the reason I am drawn first to myself in a photograph;
the reason we never look at each other anymore.
All: the face of God is ours.
So beautiful.
So grotesque.

Summer 2004 Issue

Winter 2004 Issue

Summer 2003 Issue

Editor's Note


SNR's Writers



I readily confess to being a vehicle
of transportation.
But we travel not merely in different lanes,
in opposite directions,
and at unequal speeds.
No, you are both driver
and driven;
a mother and a father,
a male and a female.
Yours is the need to matter
in terms of an innate duty to persist-
recognition is ignition?
Mercifully, you allow me to sit
behind the big wheel of life-in the driver's seat-
hands in the ready position
(white knuckles.)
Hold on, be prepared, be strong.
"Where are we going?" she asks.
Years later, he finally replies,
"Don't worry, I know where we are."
Later, he adds, "I know the way."
(Four left turns, right?)
But every day, it's the same thing:
someone is in my parking space.


Each word is a meteor in transit,
it's trail phoenix-thoughts of you
burning themselves out chasing meaning-
Blake's bright tigers morphing into Sambo's ghee-
or burrowing a crater into the pliant flesh
to remind everyone in a million years
what you drew on cold cave walls,
what you whispered into Sophocles' ears,
what you sprinkled over Norma Jean's lips and eyes and hips:
1. Love depreciates the second you drive it off the lot.
2. You can never walk fast enough to keep up with the talk.

Stephen Leonard, M.F.A., is an assistant professor of English at Gordon College. When not engaging students in conversations on creative writing, composition and rhetoric, and writing for broader media, he hones the physical skills of the Gordon cross-country and track & field athletes. He most recently published the short non-fiction piece “Swamp Skating as Durham Delights” appeared in Down East Magazine. Primarily working in fiction and news media, he has previously published poetry in small literary journals.

Copyright 2005, Stephen Leonard. This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.