Temptations in the Desert by Steven L. Peck

Was that deceiver so lacking
in diabolical imagination that
he appeared loudly, graceless in
full-figured form?
No.
I think not.
Rather he brought to mind sweet
cool Spring mornings, mother’s bread
baking thick and moist. Its smell
tickling every corner, happily.
Broken, pulled apart, steam dancing
upward from two hot halves. Honey losing
viscosity as bread and sweetness meet.

“Surely it would be no crime,”
he whispered,
“Take these rocks, you
made them anyway, and
change them,
(Swiftly!)
to that bread.
Command these bees:
`Bring honey my friends
for this fast of mine is over.’
The Son of God must have his strength
for the mission ahead. Surely
you deserve this.”

But rising, the Master
smiled at his memories, brushed the
dust from his robe. And walked homeward
over the rocks
tired and hungry.

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Steve Peck is an ecologist at Brigham Young University. His novel, The Scholar of Moab, by Torrey House Press was awarded the Association of Mormon Letters award for best novel of 2011. Other creative works include a novel: The Gift of the King’s Jeweler (2003 Covenant Communications) and a  novella A Short Stay in Hell was recently published by Strange Violins Editions. He has published numerous short stories and his poetry as appeared in Dialogue, Bellowing Ark, BYU Studies, Irreantum, Red Rock Review, Glyphs III, Pedestal Magazine, Tales of the Talisman (nominated for the Rhysling Award), Victorian Violet, and a chapbook of poetry published by the American Tolkien Society called Flyfishing in Middle Earth.  Steve blogs at bycommonconsent.com and has a faith/science blog called The Mormon Organon.

*Non-competition submission*

A Patchwork by Steven L. Peck

751px-Green_patchwork_quilt_sewn_by_hand2 by onebyjude

She rests on her grandmother’s quilt,
the Spring air cool, but sun warming €”healing
Winter’s darkness.
She, face turned to the sun,
is thinking back on the line of mothers
who gave her being and body . . .   She thinks about
an Eve, way back . . .

Out of some Cambrian longing
her distant grandmother emerged
hard shelled, many limbed,
singular in purpose, only a
crustacean of sorts, but a
crustacean on its way somewhere.
What a piece of work, this creature.

There would be many cuts,
restitchings, corrections, additions,
before her story appeared leaping
onto this wet fabric, around this sun, in this
neighborhood of stars,
in this galaxy,  in this cluster, in this universe,
in this multiverse, in this embedding,

in this quilt.

She is a small thing compared to a star,
attached to eternity
by only a pineal of complexity €”maybe
netting consciousness from some other
place. Is she some eternal piecework or
does she arise like her
arthropod grandmother
new and shining from lesser things?

On this day, she notices that
a far more distant
relation has shed an apple
leaf, which spirals
downward with grace.

She, saturated in connections, turning
over, leans off the quilt
and breaths in the scent of fragrant
Spring grass,
face first, she smells existence
in the loam, and feels some of
Schopenhauer’s Will
wrapping its arms around her and whispering
sentences that that grandmother knew and
passed on to this mammal woman,
her child’s child and so on.
Mothers running backwards, for eons.

This patchwork on which she lies
is of certain origins, and
she can wrap herself in its squares
and enjoy its warmth and the mercy of
the long chain of its history and
its intent.

__________________________________________________________________

Steve Peck is an ecologist at Brigham Young University. He has a novel soon to be published, The Scholar of Moab, by Torrey House Press. Other creative works include a novel:  The Gift of the King’s Jeweler (2003 Covenant Communications); a self-published novella  A Short Stay in Hell (reviewed  here and  here), a short science fiction story:  The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario, published in  HMS Beagle (online journal by Elsevier); poetry in  Dialogue,  Bellowing Ark,  BYU Studies,  Irreantum, Red Rock Review,  Glyphs III,  Pedestal Magazine, Tales of the Talisman (nominated for the Rhysling Award), Victorian Violet, and a chapbook of poetry published by the American Tolkien Society called  Flyfishing in Middle Earth.  Steve blogs at bycommonconsent.com and has a faith/science blog called The Mormon Organon.

For more of Steve’s writing published on WIZ, go here, here, here, here, and here.

Bobcat by Steven L. Peck

When the bobcat
flashed angrily through
the headlights
of Alan’s famous
Mustang,
we sliced the
silence to a primitive
stop and wild
eyed,
grabbed the
.22s resting cold and
anxious on
the back seat

Like
hunting hawks
dove
from the car
wings folded

The canyon echoed the crack
crack, crack as we fired
at shadows

We didn’t know then,
the cat
could
have cured us
and the quiet Spring night
soothed
our burning

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To read more of Steve’s poetry and see his bio, click here, here, here, here, and here.

*contest entry*

Her Father’s Critique by Steven L. Peck

She painted herself
into the landscape. On
a canvas she had
magicked from deep-self,
April sunlight streamed
from the clouds
in spectacular, uncanny, rays €”
immaterial matter,
soul stuff made flesh.

She brought it to her
father who pointed out
how she should have
painted the sunbeams with
more yellow €”
pointing to a maudlin
mountain scene,
hung ceremoniously on
a well-manicured wall €”
an oil anyone could have techniqued
with hackneyed accuracy. That’s
how it should be done he said, then
turned away.

He missed the remarkable
enchantment of his
little girl capturing light mixed with
quintessence and vital
spirits
spilling onto canvass.

Unable to penetrate
his cataracts,
she spread Platinum White
over the surface
and put down her brushes.

____________________________________________________________________

To read Steven’s bio and more of his poems published on WIZ go here, here, here, here, and here.

*contest entry*