The Freshwater Review

The Freshwater Review is The College of St. Scholastica's annual journal of literature and art. Published by students and faculty, the journal showcases poetry, fiction, photography, and fine art produced by members of the CSS community.

Old fences

Old Fences by Steph Koehnen

Chopping Birch

In half a heartbeat before the axe head
drops I see the Morse code in the birch bark,

clear signs of language, the lettered story circling
into speech, how the merciless wind on the high

ledge brought this tall soldier down. But first
how it swayed, how the rim shot riffs of its white

fingers cracked and clattered through the storm,
how it swung in a painful arc through the sky

like God's metronome keeping time to the song
of everything that dies too soon too soon too soon

and how its roots snapped and shattered like bone,
how it fell battering its brothers and sisters,

sheering off their close branches, scarring their trunks
as its hands clawed at the whistling air. The axe head

drops, white flesh parts, clean separation into pieces
to fit the fireplace. Later, I listen to its sad lament,

the song now leaping from its red lips, a final plea
to hear its story before all that's left is ashes.

-Gary Boelhower

The Battle

The Battle by Emilee Franklin

Solitude          I Just Can't Wait

Solitude by Kaitie Heenie                              I Just Can't Wait to be King by Bailey Barber

Two's a Crowd

- After Kenneth Koch

I love you as lightening licks at
a White Birch, already beat
from the Sapsucker's
trying beak, begging
for the touch and falling
dead when it's gone.
And who are we to try
holding it upright? I love you
for your eyes meeting
mine and nodding, knowing,
brushing past. Even if I follow,
of course I follow, I love you
as my belly cradles what feels like
honey, and it's too sweet
to bear for long. I know
my wanderings will leave me
with scabbed knees,but I do
continue, and I do love you
for what you've shown me.
We are beat from beaks
drilling holes in us, and we
know better than to scare
them off when they're hungry
for a meal. I love you as a loft
of pigeons scrambles at the sight
of heavy boots running toward them.

-Nikki Braun


Creeping Up by Steph Koehnen

Tahrir Square June 30 by Aaron Rose

Tahrir Square June 30 by Aaron Rose