A clerestory is a window which allows light and air into the body of an old building. Clerestory Magazine stories and storytellers are like windows through which the pain and beauty of the human experience shine.

The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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poem In the Memorial Garden

Gardenias droop in August heat at the Episcopal plot

poem Basque Cooking

Plenty of potatoes, garlic and lamb. Bundles of sage and jugs of harsh red wine.

poem Tea Ceremony

I know you would remember every tea, we sipped in New York, Philadelphia, Toronto—blurred, now, to Earl Grey for me.

poem Saffron

The pistils stand on end—thin red reeds, in a tiny glass bottle.

poem After Another School Shooting, I Cook Red Beans and Rice

I can't hear the TV news over the soothing static of diced onion in the pan.

poem Bliss

The tomatoes cool themselves, in the long breezes, hoarding in their flesh, fabulous waters.

poem Watermelon

Haven't we all been cut into halves? One half empathy, one half what the hell.

poem Oatmeal Morning

No amount of mother’s food or drink could give her comfort.

poem Bread

Put yeast in a cup with hot water and sugar.  Sift...

poem A Catered Event

Her shadow on the barn, cast by winter-weary sun, is taller than a five-year-old.

poem Ferment

Cucumbers sprawling in garden, insects tickling yellow flowers, we grow together.

poem Just Soup

She, holding ladle, wanting, no, needing to help.

poem The Avocado

Dressed up like an armadillo rolled into a ball, the avocado ripens on the sill.

poem Fruit Trees

Old man Peesel’s cherry orchard, of the empty prairie, the fruit reddened our fingers, lips...

poem Kitchens

For my grandmother, fat was a solution, not a problem: my grandmother’s miracles employed bacon fat and lard.

poem Mr. Cop

On the shelves in the back of room 211, our US History books waited at rest.

poem Questioning Plates

How did you know, dear dish, that you were ready to mend? What caused the old shatters? Is a shard a body, too? 

poem Judgement

It is not always a guilt-and-punishment salve to put over what’s been hurting. 

poem Day of the Girl

Vicenza became Genevieve when she landed on American soil at the turn of the century.

poem She Was Invisible

Thrown into a boat to be tossed between two worlds . . .

poem The Anatomy of Grief

That December, the dust did not settle properly on his sister's graveyard.

poem The night of your baptism

The night of your baptism, your native name sounded like a bullet, lodging itself beneath your tongue...

poem Celestial Crossroads

In the celestial port of the Soul at the crossroads between Life and Death - or is this just a dream? - she waits . . .

poem Water Anywhere

Thirsting for a fundamental key to life in the universe. . .

poem Terra-Vale

Kindred to a forest of birch, a simulacrum of the body, I inhabit . . .

poem In the Apple’s Ripening

In early spring I found myself flooded with grief over the death of my uncle Aleksey, whose life was cut short by a car crash just before my 10th birthday in 2000. He was only 24.

poem I have a tribute that stretches from my navel.

I have a tribute that stretches from my navel to the place where my mother hangs her rosary and this is where you kneel because, this is not the only part of the poem that may need a little worship.

poem It Was My Grandparents’ Table

It was my grandparents’ table that made me insist the engagement be a family event.

poem This, Nowhere but Here

I want to tell you about the walk home.