Jun 08

Martyr From the West

by evan palmer

When the forest fell and landed between our eyes

and every rising column of smoke was a new friend

we hadn’t met. When every home

condemned by you had crawl spaces instead of hallways

we knew we had to escape. We ran toward every star

offered by the night sky and followed every river to an ocean.

Only to find ourselves talking to the same prophet

whose only advice was:

 try to think of death as your friend.

We didn’t listen.


We couldn’t listen because our ears were full

of memories and our eyes had been closed

for so long that when we opened

them we were surrounded

by yellow tape. But we knew

we couldn’t be dead yet because the wind

was not strong enough to carry

us across the sea over the plateau

all the way to Moscow where we could finally

look in the mirror again. To Moscow

where we could finally listen

to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”

without having to know how to play the piano.


So we dug past churches, past bridges

and trenches until we met Mother

Russia at the edge of the Baltic Sea

and stepped on the first mat

to welcome us in years. Our tired

ears fell off at the sound of her voice

and we didn’t pick them up because our hands

were full of  a thousand poems

that neither one of us knew how to read.



Evan is a writer who is currently an undeclared major at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. He writes mostly for himself and his work will be appearing in the upcoming book project collective of the allpoetry website.


Art by Michelle Johnsen, art editor

Michelle Johnsen is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine, EcoWatch.com, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by APweather.com, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at] gmail.com.