Volume 3



Hanging Lake-Glenwood Canyon, Krysta Ryan
Krysta Ryan is a student at Ashford University. She write:s “Hanging Lake is an amazing ecosystem located on the top of Glenwood Canyon in Colorado. I visited this natural wonder and was able to document the trip with this great photo.”




Black inked shadows

Mask the “once girl”

A lilac flowered night,


two fairs clash.
Laughter hits my drum

Harmonizing, their

Tea cups spin


past the pirate boat, over there.
“Scared of kitchenware”,

muttered the blackening sky.

The wheel of fortune!
over the crowds, we run and fly.
Sheltered by a hat,

Tagged as one town

Weekend hot spring hideouts
lost and found?
Two young deer

Smoke cotton candy bliss

Hand-in-hand, glow


red, white, and blue.
At the highest peak

My angel flew

A year older, no longer
below our Ferris Wheel.






Bleeding through my suit of armor
Thousands locked away
By horse reigns, that charmer
This, for whom my heart
Burns like a blacksmiths’ steel flame
Shield the forging dart
Clutch like a vise
With alien, slender digits
In hell, mermaids bathe in ice
A vibrant cascade illuminates my skin
Free me from my chamber
Yellow beams reflecting in
Her lungs cry for salt
Cast away my ship
To battle.
In a past life,
sails chase her velvet fin.
“More” I beg. Needing the sun to fight
Restore wind to my world and sight.



Morgan Massey is a skilled writer and editor with experience expanding small, start-up companies in marketing, design, administrative, and creative development. As an adaptable team player and creative problem solver, she is a proud chameleon. Past experiences as a dance instructor, choreographer, backstage assistant, coordinator, manager, and performer established an organized work ethic and creative energy. With the pursuit to gain more skills in both writing and dance industries, Morgan looks forward to her entrepreneurial goals in the future.




The nurse carried the newborn down the hall, a persistent white-haired man at her side. “That is my granddaughter. Let me hold her; I can give her to her mom”. The nurse explained again that the child had to be given to her mother first. “She is just going to hand her to me.” The conversation continued until the two entered the small hospital room where the new parents waited to meet their baby. The nurse placed the little girl in her mother’s arms, she smiled and handed the baby to the aging man who now stood beside her. “I told you,” he chortled to the nurse as he took his first grandchild into his arms. I must have heard the story a thousand times in the sixteen years I had with my grandfather, and it never got old. It was the story of how I met my best friend.

A few years later we were inseparable, I was “papaw’s little hunting buddy,” and he was my window to the world. In the fall our antics would take place mostly in the Cherokee Forrest that surrounds our area, its dense foliage made it seem like we were in another world instead of twenty miles from home. Each morning, as we would walk the dirt trail where we had made camp Papaw Wayne would point out the strange tracks along the road, three in a set and all in line with each other. It was the elusive three-legged deer. He had a story for everything, and this was always my favorite. With short legs and the tendency to fall behind it did not take long, even at four years old, to understand that he had created the tracks with his cane, which folded out into a three-legged chair he could sit in. Even knowing the truth though the sense of wonder never faded from those “three-legged deer” tracks. We would make our way deeper into the woods, forgoing the trail to set atop whichever ridge looked best that day. Our bows leaned up against a nearby tree, him perched upon his versatile cane and myself against a tree trunk, he would remind me that if we wanted to see the animals, we must be soundless. Silence is often difficult for the young, but he taught me to listen to the world around me, the voice of

the wind in the trees, how the natural sounds of the forest would shift when danger approached, how the animals would change when they became accustomed to your presence. It was a fascinating world to grow up in, even if we never did kill a deer.

Our summers were spent whiling away our time by the lake. The old pop-up camper set up in a large open field away from the rest of the campground, making it feel like the woods, far away from the rest of the world. Our mornings would start early on the old dock it overlooked, fishing rods in hand and bait at the ready. The lake was peaceful in the mornings, no boats to stir the water and most people still sound asleep in their beds. Together we would sit as still as possible, waiting for a bite on the line, talking about our lack of plans for the day and whatever questions my mind could think up. As the sun rose higher into the afternoon sky and the lake became more active driving the fish deeper into its depths, we would return to the campsite for sandwiches, and he would tell his wild tales of adventure and disappearing strangers he stopped to help on the side of the road. When he would go in to rest I would wonder off to the old rope swing he and some of the others had built for the few kids who came to stay at the small camp and marvel at his stories of the world that seemed so nonchalant through the eyes of any other. As the shadows would grow long when the day began drawing to a close, I would head off to find him once more. Our summer nights would always be welcomed the same. We would sit together in an old porch swing hung in the trees by the lake’s edge to watch the sunset over the water. Talking idly about what seemed like nothing then and seems like everything now.

As the years flew by and childhood simplicity gave way to the hectic schedule of teenage years’ time became much more scarce, we began a new tradition. Every Sunday morning around eleven I would hear his car pull in, the morning paper in his hand and a smile on his face, ready to begin the day set aside for our adventures. Each one started the same, a trip to the old flea market down the road to

see what deals we could find and for my weekly lesson in how to haggle with the vendors. Afterward, we would head to the mall for lunch in the food court and a trip to the bookstore. He encouraged my reading addiction and was the only one who would take me to buy the next book in whatever series I may be reading at the time if I could not find it at our first stop. If the day were pretty enough, we would finish at the park, playing on the playground if there was no one there or watching the children if there were. I could not tell you how many Sundays we spent this way, he and I. He even devised a word for our trips together, galybating. It was as unique as the days we spent together and the man who came up with it. He used these days to pass on the wisdom he had learned over the years, both in trade and in how to be a patient, kind, and selfless person. Lessons I will never forget.

It has been eleven years since I heard the story of the day I was born, since the last fruitless hunting trip, since the last time we cast our fishing lines into the lake, and the last grand adventure. I still look out my window on Sunday morning expecting to see him. When I sit in the silence of the woods, I can almost hear his voice on the wind. On the days when I need him most, all I must do is watch the sun set over the water. The Sunday trips are made alone now but sometimes when the day is just right I swear I can nearly catch a glimpse of him beside me, his striking sky blue eyes alight with joy and his curls of white hair dancing on the breeze. There are those who pass through our lives, and we barely notice. Then there are the few who make us who we are. The best parts of me were passed down and left behind from the most uniquely beautiful soul I have ever met: my best friend, my Papaw Wayne.



Sarah King  lives in Bristol, Tennessee where she works as an Assistant Operationals Manager. She is a full time student at Ashford University working on her Bachelors degree in Psychology with a long established passion for creative writing.





We smell the mossy breeze; it blows in like the leaves

We see the water splashing, our feet digging in the sand

We feel the cold tranquility; it slips through our fingers

We sink the hook on the bobber, ready for the fish we’ll soon see

We smell the bait on our hands, the stench of anchovies

We hold the poles with waited breath; time goes so slowly

We know that time is wasting, she will soon have to leave

We smile at each other, our thoughts swirl like the breeze

We must part in hours, our homes are far apart

We feel the tug on the poles, we smile with glee

We lift the pole towards the sky; it bends towards the end

We see the line tugging, the pole jumping around

We laugh out loud with tears in our eyes, reeling the fish in

We see the ripple in the water; the fish floats to the top

We catch it in the net; we seriously begin to cry

We know the time has come, we must say our goodbye

We unhook the fish, and set it back free

We will never fish together again, my mother and me



Jeannie O’shia writes: “I am currently enrolled here at Ashford University working to earn a BA in Educational Studies, a minor in Child Development, and a Minor in Writing. I enjoy writing and have recently discovered the love of writing poetry.”




What should I do with my life, I wonder.

Is the answer anywhere on display?

Tell me before from death I slip under.


This question echoes louder than thunder,

Demanding to be heard without delay

What should I do with my life, I wonder.


Am I here by some mistake or blunder,

Just to grow elderly and fade away?

Tell me before from death I slip under.


Could I save the world from all who plunder,

Maybe I will only led them astray?

What should I do with my life, I wonder.


Is my role a taker or a funder,

Or the star of a fancy cabaret?

Tell me before from death I slip under.


I don’t want life to feel like I’ve shunned her,

But I am preoccupied with knowing,

What should I do with my life, I wonder,

Tell me before from death I slip under.





 Romeo and Juliet,


Their hands collided reaching for the same book,

A meet-cute.

A chorus of “you take it”, “no you take it” ensued.

It’s yours, she insisted, she has another copy at home.

Sparks glimmered brilliantly as he gazed at her

They talked all night, the perfume of old pages scenting the air.

The owner grew annoyed, he was trying to close the store.

Luckily, she knew a coffee place around the corner.


The Princess Bride,


They both had a copy of the same book,

His and Hers.

A chorus of “congratulations”, “best wishes” declared.

I’m yours, he vowed, he can’t wait to get her home.

Camera lights flickered as she hugged him closer.

They danced all night, flutes of champagne being passed around.

The crowd grew thin, they’d had way too much to drink.

Luckily, there would be plenty of leftover cake.


Goodnight Moon,


It was lucky they had two of the same book,

Twin babies.

A chorus of “it’s a girl!”, “it’s a boy!” announced.

You’re ours, they cooed, and took them to their new home.

Love flared as their family become bigger

They struggled all night, swaddling was harder than it looked.

The babies grew tired, but neither would sleep.

Luckily, their parents knew the perfect bedtime story.



Ashley Kelley writes: “I currently live in Oklahoma where I work in finance. Although my day is filled with numbers, my one true love remains literature. I am majoring in English at Ashford University and hope to break into the publishing field.”