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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 17: 29 Jan. 2023
Poem: 185 words
By Susan Tekulve


The stones looked like nothing 
more than dinosaur eggs 
my neighbor’s archaeologist son brought back 
to Ohio from the desert. 
He sprinkled them between snowdrops 
and iris on the side of their house, 
taught me to run my thumb over volcanic 
imperfections, listen for the emptiness 
within that grew quartz, agate, calcite 
for 35 million years. 
He let me pick one, 
asked what I wished 
to see inside. Afraid 
I’d find quartz corrupted by iron brown 
minerals when everything I wanted that summer was purple, 
I replied, beauty, though I must have meant astonishment. 
He nodded, chiseled the stone into two exact halves 
of a miniature snowstorm, 
icicles of calcite rimmed with milk-blue calcedony 
flowing like water circling through clouds, 
updrafts, downdrafts, each cycle adding a new layer 
until the ball of water was too heavy to be held 
by vapors, and fell as hailstones I collected 
in the eye of April tornadoes. 
Beneath the mercury sky 
they glowed like giant pearls 
my mother let me store in the deep freeze 
as if we could stockpile wonder, 
make it last longer than childhood. 

Susan Tekulve’s
Issue 17 (29 January 2023)

newest book is Second Shift: Essays (Del Sol Press). She is the author of In the Garden of Stone (Hub City Press), winner of the South Carolina Novel Prize and a Gold IPPY Award. She’s also published two short-story collections: Savage Pilgrims (Serving House Books) and My Mother’s War Stories (Winnow Press), the latter of which received the 2004 Winnow Press fiction prize. Her web chapbook, Wash Day, appears in the Web Del Sol International Chapbook Series.

Her nonfiction, short stories, and essays have appeared in journals such as Denver Quarterly, The Georgia Review, The Louisville Review, Puerto del Sol, New Letters, and Shenandoah. Selections from her photo essay, “White Blossoms,” appeared in Earth Hymn (Volume 6 of the KYSO Flash Anthology), with the full essay published online in Issue 12 of KYSO Flash.

Ms. Tekulve has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She teaches in the BFA and MFA writing programs at Converse University.

Author’s website: https://susantekulve.com/

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