I feel the owls gathering with the dark,
and holy words beyond translation
coming from the synagogue next door
through a thicket of white oleander.

We are wrapped around in spells.
Shakespeare, the Metamorphosis,
and old French recipes
for chicken braised in serious red wine
and little glossy onions like
Grandmother Nora’s string of pearls.

All year I’ve been bitten by spiders
in the night, in tender, hidden places,
telling me to pay attention,
that we must weave our own lives,
be mindful of every day’s choices
of the warp and weft we give ourselves.

They add their arachnid wisdom
to the auguries of quail, junco,
golden-crowned sparrow, and
mockingbird—big-hearted clown
drawing the cats off from their prey.

We live a charmed life here.
Find your own joy, the Sufis say.
We warm our feet in lambswool,
love intemperately,
read sonnets in three languages,
and know how blessed we are
against all possible reason.

- Christie B. Cochrell


Christie B. Cochrell is an ardent lover of the play of light, the journeyings of time, things ephemeral and ancient. Her work has been published by Tin House and New Letters, among others, and has won several awards including the Dorothy Cappon Prize for the Essay and the Literal Latté Short Short Contest. She has written three novels, currently seeking publication; one was shortlisted for the Eludia Award given by Hidden River Arts. Her short story “The Pinecone” received Honorable Mention in the Glimmer Train March/April 2016 Very Short Fiction contest. Her flash prose is forthcoming in Dime Show Review.