blurry colorful lights at night

The Dream of the Shepherd

You say the Shepherd waits all night for the dream
to abate. But how could you know? In the painting
He covers his face. Last week, I called to tell you
that I wanted to die. This was not the first time.
In the Shepherd’s dream, the women are cast
like stars above his head. Naked and alive, they raise
their arms to the skies.

Tonight, we swagger down to 21st Street
for slices from Grimaldi’s, where each pepperoni
holds a little pool of grease. Hodler’s critics claimed
the women were excessively erotic, but they were just thinking
about sex. The erotic is something else—it requires a lightness
of mind so playful it terrifies. Sex is like that guy at the bar
who keeps handing me drinks. I get wasted and give

him my number but no name. Perhaps the Shepherd cries
because the women have no eyes for him. Or maybe
he’s surprised by how easily we fantasize, and even in fantasy
pale. You could go on forever this way, splitting the mind
between safety and pain. The Shepherd

draws a line in the sand. In the darkness
of night, I search for God’s hand.


Jeddie Sophronius

Fiction Editor
Nana Nyarko Boateng

Nonfiction Editor
Henrietta Hadley

Assistant Poetry Editor
Kaitlyn Airy


Open Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction
July 1 through October 31

Short Prose Contest
July 1 through August 15

Editors’ Prizes in Poetry and Prose
November 1 through December 31


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